Lesson planning is hard. It takes all of my mental agility. It takes creativity I don’t have. It takes discipline of will. It takes humility, because more days than not I have to admit I have no ideas and ask my co-teachers for help. It could always be done better. It’s frustrating because it rarely turns out the way I expected or hoped. Every day that I triumphantly complete my lesson plan, it lasts two hours and then it’s done, and I have to start again from square one for tomorrow.
That’s what love’s like. Every lesson plan is an act of love to my students. Loving people well requires time; it can’t be done in a hurry as one task to be checked off the list. Loving people well requires that you know them, that you know them well, their strengths and weaknesses and interests and insecurities and their unique process of learning and knowing. Loving well demands focus and discipline of mind and will. It takes courage and humility because you can’t make people be the way you want them to be, whether your desires for them are noble or selfish. Loving well goes against all of my natural inclinations toward pursuing ease and cherishing independence and thinking about myself first and wanting other people to be conveniently manipulatable.
I see every day that my love is not patient, nor kind. It envies, boasts, and is proud. It sets up rules where there are no rules. It is always calculating the cost. It keeps mental record books, but only for others. It compares in hope of determining itself worthy. It always has mixed motives. It is sluggish and unreliable and often frankly unrecognizable as love.
But I am first loved. Before I love well, before I love at all, before I save the day or even make one tiny sacrifice, before I fix what is broken, before I make myself loveable, I am first loved. That is the wild kind of love that is teaching me how to love.
And you all thought I was the teacher.
Can we be good without God?
3 years ago