From both Rosslyn and China

I tell all my students for the past two decades that overseas travel is a great learning experience. Indeed, without it, what we consider learning lacks great depth of true understanding. A couple of days ago, August 8, to be precise, I wrote about my recent trip to Scotland and especially to Rosslyn Chapel. I missed an important learning and legend the first time to Rosslyn. What I missed was about the apprentice's pillar or column. The story is about a student stonemason who sculpted a truly wondrous column.

The Apprentice's Column or Pillar

The Apprentice's Column or Pillar

Nonetheless, this student's masterpiece did not set well with his teacher, the master stonemason. Out of jealousy, the master mason throws a mallet used for cutting stone at his student and kills him instantly.

In that article, I wrote about how I had a problem. I addressed the problem at every imaginable point with facts, data, and explanations. I spoke with people whom I trusted and who trusted me. I followed both my ideas and their recommendations, but it was to no avail. I did not get the resolution to my problem even though the resolution was apparent - at least to me. Right or wrong, the problem that I had was not remedied the way I thought was just. I felt like the apprentice as the mallet was thrown.

Now, before you feel sorry for me, I have an advantage over that apprentice at Rosslyn. I am still alive and well. However, the apprentice died instantly. While I surely feel the pain about something about which I am dedicated and correct, I am not dead. Because of that, I am still functioning. While I would prefer not to have the mallet thrown, I would rather be the apprentice than the thrower.

I cannot control those with mallets, but I can control myself, which I did. I started to write the article about my second trip to Rosslyn. In the midst of this, China emails me. China is my webmaster. She has revamped my entire website and has been a blessing for me. Hardly a day goes by without emails between us. If you need a web designer and computer techy, go to China's website and the Wolverton-Mountain Facebook page that China administers for me.

China in her home office

China in her home office

China's email mentioned something that she saw on a billboard about being better and avoiding being bitter. That was precisely what I was attempting to formulate in my article regarding Rosslyn, the apprentice, and me. I was going to meet one more official regarding my problem on the next morning. I trust this person. This person was not indifferent to my pain. However, after that meeting, I will be without any further opportunities or chances of resolving my problem.

Nevertheless, by using China's better/bitter notion, I wrote and had China post the article before the meeting the next day. It is now three days later, and the issue is still in limbo. Again, I am writing an article about the situation — before it is resolved one way or the other.

What have I learned about my situation from Rosslyn and China? I know that mallet throwers fill the world. That is a given. The question is whether the victims have the right to return the mallet...a quid pro quo scenario. Now, I would not have thrown a mallet in return, but I could have stewed in my juices...and become bitter. Bitterness would have been a self-inflicted mallet rather than one from the outside. How is that any different...hurt will be the result from both.

The teacher's face looking at the column
The teacher's face looking at the column
Another learning related to Rosslyn is that mallet thrower suffered an even worse pain. Someone sculpted the face of the mallet thrower on the wall directly across from the apprentice's column. The sculpted mallet thrower will see the work about which he was jealous. Every day for centuries as the sun rises in the morning, the face of the master stonemason sees his student's masterpiece before him.
Therein lies another lesson for all of us. Do not replicate the stonemason's actions. In time, present-day mallet throwers will have mallets thrown at them from others. We need to realize that anger begets anger. That will be a never-ending process of hatred and anger.

The question for us is whether we will work at being better and forget being bitter. That is not the easiest choice to make. However, it is easier than being bitter and/or being a mallet thrower.