The Price of an Education

Perhaps it was the crisp fall air from this morning, or perhaps it was the bag of apples calling from the fridge, or perhaps it was the fact that this was the first evening in over a week that I’ve had a few minutes without a specific obligation. But whatever the reason, I decided to make an apple pie tonight.

My mom makes the best apple pie ever. Of course, pie baking expertise is not absorbed by osmosis—as I am well aware. It’s the crust that always gets me. My mom bakes a perfect crust—thin and flaky. I can’t remember that I’ve ever baked a good crust in the kitchen alone. But, since it’s been years since I last tried and failed and since I couldn’t reach my mom on the phone, I decided tonight was the night for success!

I pulled out my mom’s recipe and began measuring and mixing. Yep, the flour and salt mixed together great!

As I began to cut in the butter, I called Kristy, a dear friend from out of state whom I haven’t talked with in months. We chatted as I watched what was taking place in the bowl in front of me with growing concern. This wasn’t looking quite right. In fact, it was looking very wrong.

As looks can be deceiving, I decided to try rolling it out despite the doughy consistency. I gave periodic “pie crust updates” to Kristy while we continued updating each other on our lives and as I alternated adding more flour or more water to my mess.

About the point in our phone conversation that Kristy began telling me how the Lord is teaching her patience, I determined that since I couldn’t roll the crust out thin, I would glob it all together and make a single bottom crust. Who needs a top crust on an apple pie anyway?

In case you’re ever wondering, bad pie dough is just bad pie dough. It doesn’t work thin, and it doesn’t work thick. And I know now that it doesn’t even work as cinnamon strips. (They are sitting on a pan behind me—sort of thick and gooey. Not so tasty.)

Kristy was encouraging. “I’m sure you can find some sort of application from this!”

I have. So far, I’ve learned how not to bake pie crust!

And I’ve remembered my dad’s frequent observation that failure is sometimes the price of an education.

Strangely enough, nine years ago tonight I was sure I had failed at an endeavor much more important than an apple pie. It was the night of the premier release of Stepping in the Light—a twenty-eight page magazine for teen girls that I had poured myself into night and day for the past several weeks. And that very night, it would be distributed at our church’s youth conference.

I had used the sum total of the money I had been given for my high school graduation to print that first issue, and I figured that to keep it going I needed two hundred subscriptions—which I was sure would come that very night. Surely the girls at youth conference would recognize the need this magazine would meet in their lives!

I was wrong.

I left youth conference that weekend with a grand total of one subscription.

Fail. Right?

Actually, it was only the price of an education. And as it turned out, it was just the first installment in that education. I continued learning through the following six years of publication!

Looking back now, I’m so thankful for how the Lord taught me through the years of publishing Stepping in the Light. I’m thankful for His patience, and I’m thankful for His grace. And I’m thankful I paid the price of education when it was costly.

I don’t know in what area you are struggling. But I would suggest that you don’t quit. When we refuse to pay the price of education, we simply suffer defeat. But when we learn from failure and attempt again, we learn and grow through the process. “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again” (Proverbs 24:16).

I still intend to learn how to make a thin, flakey pie crust. But I’m beginning to think this may be a long—and costly—course! (Although, my brother did suggest that the birds may benefit from the doughy cinnamon strips made by this attempt.)