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BREATHING ROOM: Learning happens where we look

BREATHING ROOM: Learning happens where we look

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Learning happens where we look. Growth happens in the areas we give attention. Our little one learns new ideas and concepts from her peers at an astounding rate.

“Where did you hear about that [YouTuber]?” (As if I even knew the person had a YouTube vlog?) Her reply? “I just knowed it, Momma.”

Was it from the old Looney Tunes shows that she somehow learned of L.O.L. dolls? Or was that from her friends?

Learning happens where we look. She has been learning her numbers for quite a long while. This school year brought a sing-song poem about how to draw the numbers. She quickly stored the formation rhymes in her growing brain, save that of number 6. Because she “just knowed it.” Why bother with a poem, she implies!

Learning happens where we look. We often look at what receives the light or focus. But what about what does not come out of the darkness? The year 2020 (and several before it) has been a year that casts long shadows. We have either been shown or allowed ourselves to see deeper shadows. Shadows we pretended were not there, shadows we assumed had long since faded or shadows that were somehow “acceptable” things.

Carl Jung, psychoanalyst, believed that we must come to terms with our shadow selves in order to understand our whole selves. These are the parts of ourselves we would prefer to obscure from others. Think of the temperamental, the fearful, the neurotic, the aggressive, the things hidden on purpose. Hide them, indeed! As if we could!

Surely, if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we must attend to the shadows. For it is in looking at the darkest and brightest parts that we come to know all else that lies between.

Learning happens where we look. Our own selves, our churches, communities, households, agencies, sheriff’s departments, governments, extended families and nation all benefit from scrutiny over the shadows. Perhaps not so much the scrutiny is as important as being aware of them.

For as Helen Keller, unable to see, hear or speak, was able to articulate out of her own shadows: “Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.”

Longing to breathe deeply and to walk with others as they seek to meet their longings, C.A. Rollins writes and invites you to reflect with her at

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