Monday, December 29, 2014

Interacting with My Students Drives Deeper Meditation

I've been getting back into my writing lately. It's felt really good to renew this as a spiritual discipline, and I'm making space for it again in my life. At this exact moment, that's pretty easy, since I'm in the Winter Break from teaching.

But at any rate, I wrote a poem just recently that's all about the way that I interact with my students... see, teaching is another spiritual discipline for me. There are days where I really, really resent some of my students. Which is, of course, offset by the days where I feel exuberant about the whole school thing. But the point is that the whole thing is a challenge, and recognizing it in terms of my spirituality allows me to navigate the school environment in a more virtuous way, I think.

The point of all that is that the poem I wrote coincided with today's meditation from Pray As You Go. The meditation for today was centered in a reading from the second chapter of the First Letter of John  (click on the link to hear the scripture passage) and it was continually asking me how I can walk in the way of Jesus and how I am able to grow in love for others. Those were the questions that resonated with me in regard to what I had already written. I would like to share with you the poem that I wrote, and I would also encourage you to listen to the meditation for Monday 29 December (the "Pray As You Go" link above is a permalink for the day's meditation).

"Seeing the Face of Christ in the Other"

First question:
“Who is the Other?”
The One who is not you.

To recognize the Other
You must first see
Really see
The person who is not yourself

To see the face of Christ in the Other
You must love and respect
The person who is not yourself
You must learn to care for them.

For me
The Other is very often any given student of mine
But more often than I like
The Other is one who get under my skin

The child who pulls attention
Away from the class
Asking inane questions
And saying ridiculous things

She comes from
No constant home absent father junkie mother’s boyfriend cares more about stuff than her
All she wants, more than anything
Is to be seen for who she is.

But this
Child of God
Is cared for
As the Belovéd.

For me
The Other is sometimes
The boy at school
Who thinks he’s not worth it

He’s always been picked on as
The scrawny one
The geeky one
The boy who’s too eager to say something in class

But this
Child of God
Is adored
As the Belovéd.

For me
The Other is, at times,
The kid who lives in her head
Doesn’t know how to let anyone in

She cares for her friends and remembers when things were rosy
She wants so much to be cared for
She tries to make sense of all these emotions and thoughts
She tried once to drink until they went away

And even this
Child of God
Is cradled in God’s bosom
Because she is the Belovéd.

My God, my god,
How can I care for all of these?
How can I completely love and respect
The lives these little ones carry with them?

What kind of experience
Do I share with them?
Their lives are so far off
From the place of your temple

But indeed I know
That precisely that
Is why these little ones
Are my Others

I do not understand them
I do not believe I can care for them
I do not know how to love them
They are so much not myself

But it must be precisely these
Who are the Christ-bearers to me
In learning to care for them
Christ will reveal his face to me

~ ~ ~

What did you think of the daily meditation from Pray As You Go? Did it connect with anything that you've been pondering in your life? Please leave a comment here, or join with me in conversation on Twitter or Facebook! Also, please subscribe to my blog by email with the subscription bar in the navigation menu on the right-hand side of this page, and/or send me a friend request/follow me to make that social connection and participate in a deeper dialogue. Thanks!