Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Mathematics of Life

I’m not a mathematician. 
I do good to get my checkbook balanced and marvel at people who can make numbers mean something. But despite my lack of mathematical talent, I have learned some important lessons from the little I can do with numbers.

One thing I’ve learned is that when you make a mistake in a mathematical problem you can NEVER arrive at the right answer if you just keep doing more adding and subtracting. Once a mistake is made it sends you down a wrong road and no matter how well you multiply and divide from that point on you are still on the wrong path to solving the problem. The only way to get back on course to finding the right answer is to back up until you find the mistake, correct it, and go forward from there.

Life is like that. When we discover we are on the wrong path, the only thing that put us right again is to go back to the mistake, repair it (repent) best we can, and then move forward. If instead of correcting our path, we just keep plodding on, we only go farther and farther down the wrong road.

From my experience hiking and walking, I’ve also learned that the sooner I turn around after discovering I’m on the wrong road, the easier the journey is. The longer I persist on the wrong path the more difficult it is to return to the right path.

(There are a lot of advantages to getting old. One is that you learn a lot of good lessons even from things like the arithmetic you hated in third grade!)

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