by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.

Beginning in babyhood, we watch and learn from others. What doesn’t always continue throughout our lives is how we speak about what we’re learning with one another. And yet there is much we can learn from hearing about another’s experiences and perspectives.

Truly each of us has a unique path we will call our life. And there are probably no two paths exactly alike. Still, when we share the lessons we’ve learned with another, we may be giving that person the inspiration, encouragement, hope or wisdom they need at that moment in their own life.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked some friends to share one of their “Aha!” moments with me — such as an experience that changed the way they lived their life, something they read that altered the way they believed, life-transforming insight gleaned from a mistake or perhaps something realized from witnessing another person’s experience.

This week is going to feature those who shared lessons learned in their childhood or from a child. Next week will feature parental perceptions and other lessons learned as an adult.

One friend told about the death of friend in an automobile accident. They were both twelve years old and their mothers’ only children. She wrote, “At that moment I had an “Aha!” that would change my life forever. Life became a precious gift — something fleeting. I realized that even at the tender age of twelve, I could die and so could those I love. It is a lesson that I suppose we all learn at some point — the first time we feel our own mortality. “

Another wrote, “My “Aha!” moment came when I made a phone call about making brownies for the band bake sale.” She became acquainted with a family and a student who had been diagnosed with cancer. She shared, “I watched her during her struggles with chemo, surgery, radiation and anything else that was sent her way. She had more strength and wisdom than many adults have — me included. We complain because we’ve had a bad day or we never have enough hours in the day to accomplish what we want to do or something isn’t going our way. Then I look at Chalisa. What an amazing young lady.”

One friend told about an epiphany she experienced as a teenager during Sunday School. She explained, “We were talking about the Bible Lesson for that week, questions were flying, and ideas started percolating. Then came my “Aha!” moment which became pivotal to my life. Liz started talking about everything around us representing a spiritual idea; that the very substance of all stuff was spiritual, not the matter it seemed to be constructed of. For instance, a dog represents unconditional love and boundless joy, the chair we sat on represented structure and support, as God’s children we represented every divine quality attributable to God’s good nature — honesty, intelligence, tenderness, strength, loving-kindness, etc. And the light bulb went off. Oh my gosh. Suddenly, this statement by Mary Baker Eddy who authored the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures had profound meaning to me: “Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul.” Life suddenly had a new color and purpose and it became an adventure in spiritual discovery … that continues today.”

Another childhood “Aha!” came when this friend was about 10 years old. She wrote, “I was at a fair with my best friend and I was at one of those booths where you try to win a stuffed animal. I had one in mind that I wanted, and I kept putting quarters down and guessing a number that the game would land on and I kept guessing the wrong number. After the 20th time of guessing, I was ready to move on. The man suggested I let my friend guess. And of course my friend guessed the right number and she got the stuffed animal that I wanted. So “Aha!” — I learned that it doesn’t pay to gamble. I never gambled again. I learned that we can’t rely on chance for any aspect of our lives. I would much rather feel the safe, secure, presence of God’s love and guidance than let accidents, mishaps, superstition rule my day.”

I recall many “Ahas!” from my youth, such as: What goes around comes around. Lying is never a good idea. Sneak around enough and you will get caught. Mothers are not easily deceived. And also, if you want things to be different in your life, be the difference that makes the difference.

Every life lesson learned is pivotal to who we are and how we live our lives. May you have many “Aha!” moments, my friends, and may you share these precious lessons with everyone you can!