True learning

Photo: kladcat on Flickr via Creative Commons

Photo: kladcat on Flickr via Creative Commons

Some of you teach me the importance of being kind, no matter the situation and no matter my disposition. I never know what the other person is going through, so even when they lash out or are themselves unkind, I’m my best and most human when I extend compassion and patience.

Some of you teach me to play more. You teach me games and songs, you push me to relax and try to find a remnant of childlikeness buried somewhere deep. You remind me that redemption is in part about enjoying what’s redeemed.

Some of you teach me to take care of myself. You show me that nourishment is important, that locally grown food prepared by hand and eaten fresh keeps us connected to the stuff that makes us. You invite me to walk and stretch and experience the world corporeally, because the fact that incarnation happened matters.

Some of you teach me to find beauty in unexpected places. A face surrounded by water. Stones marking our world’s ancient history. The discarded remnants of a consumerist world, transformed into rooftop planters ushering in an urban garden. You remind me that nothing broken is beyond being made new, including my own dark and broken places.

You teach me to slow down, to reach out, to look up. I’m so grateful for all of you. While I may be given the title of teacher because I lead classes or parse out knowledge for you, you are my teachers. I do my best teaching when I simply offer the truth of what I’ve come to know. I’ve learned that God is unrelentingly loving, tenaciously faithful, and violently opposed to my tendency toward self-destruction. I’ve learned that trusting the parts of myself that come from Him, acknowledging that there is good and purity and strength in my soul, is the best way to access all those things and extend them to you. I’ve learned that the universe is truly awe-inspiring and we will never tire of exploring all it contains. I’ve learned that humankind can be terrifying and beautiful, vicious and charitable, barbaric and brilliant. As you trust me enough to share what you’ve learned as well, I am granted a greater and more perfect vision of God and the world and humankind. We are a species of teachers – may we remain ever humble enough to be learners as well.

No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge…For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man. And even as one of you stands alone in God’s knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.

~ Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

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