Building the Bridge Between Knowledge and Wisdom

Dear Reader:

Knowledge is an accumulation of facts and learned experiences we absorb throughout our life. Wisdom is knowing when to apply our knowledge to a situation and when to save it for a later and more appropriate challenge that might come our way.

Some of you might remember that about a week ago a beloved cousin, Charles, texted me to catch up and get my brother Ben’s number. He finished the text teasing me about munching on potato chips (in my honor-” The Potato Chip Kid.”) I was the cousin who wouldn’t eat a sandwich without chips.

Last week I was enjoying an exceptionally quiet week but mentioned it felt like I was in waiting mode and attributed it to Lee and Vikki’s precious little one who should arrive any day! Our latest addition to the family-a great niece!

Saturday morning the phone rang-it was Marilyn, Charles’ sister, who sadly told me Charles’ wonderful wife, Sherry had passed. I was so stunned… Sherry had battled cerebral vascular dementia for the past several years at home… Charles had wonderful help and they stayed in a great routine and life had settled back in but a stroke took Sherry’s life quickly.

Ben had not had a great week .. problems with his phone and confusion over the baby’s arrival and the thunderstorms had limited his ability to hit balls outside. … so I knew I had to be careful about how I let him know about Sherry since Ben’s diagnosis is the same as Sherry’s. I didn’t want him connecting the shared diagnosis thinking it might cause more confusion or upset him.

Sunday, Bekah, Ben’s daughter and granddaughter Ady visited him and managed to figure out the problem with the phone and get it going again. 🎉 Then yesterday I took his Pepsis and cheese crackers to him. We had a long talk and I simply told Ben that Sherry had been sick for quite awhile and suffered a stroke … no mention of the long-term cause or name behind it.

He was saddened to hear it but accepted the news calmly… death is a natural part of life-he said and we are all in that stage of life when it could easily be anyone of us… whenever God decides. When Ben isn’t confused he is amazingly insightful.

He told me that every week or so he is sharing one more chapter of his book about his experiences in Vietnam with many interested residents who come to his Book Talk. He is reminded each time how lucky he is to simply be alive. Ben is at peace with death and there I was trying to protect him when Ben, in his wisdom was teaching me.

Then our conversation lightened up because he was telling me that the lawn maintenance worker was always bringing Ben golf balls he found around the property but lately some had ended up in the palmetto trees. He was quite good-natured about it and bagged the balls and brought them to him.

Suddenly a resident sitting in another seat on the porch started pointing… I followed her gaze… there sat a golf ball in the closest palmetto tree to us! God has such a great sense of humor and His Winks are timed perfectly!

It is such a beautiful drive on Daniel Island to get to Wellmore and Ben comments on its beauty frequently -something that the ” old” Ben would never have noticed.

So until tomorrow… When we hear God’s voice coming through loud and clear in any conversation or ordinary day ritual… let’s remember to stop and pause… God’s wisdom is the voice of deeper insights… a spiritual ” tag on” to our human knowledge.

Today is my favorite day -Winnie the Pooh

Ben’s front porch view

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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