The Art of Learning

On Friday, our daughter Saskia fell off her chair at the dinner table and broke her elbow. But with her special condition and the complexities it brings, she had to wait many hours at the hospital without pain medication before she could have surgery. Finally, as they rolled Saskia into the operating room, the nurse brought a basket full of toys for her to choose from. With tears of fear and having to leave mom running down her face, Saskia reached into the basket. She pulled out a toy horse. This is for Milena, she said. Despite all her fear and pain, Saskia was thinking of her sister.

Teachers come in all sizes, dear friends. With Saskia’s gift of selfless love and compassion, her light is often my teacher. Children in general are the best teachers. But if we have the eyes to see, each human relationship we have can be a teacher. For every human heart carries a unique gift of light, however faint, that can school us if we allow it. The steadfast commitment of one, the enthusiasm for life of another, the capacity for devotion of still another, or the precise intellect of yet another, this glistening of many lights that makes up our community is shining if we can only see.

And yet, so often, we only see shadow. So often we would neglect the light of others preferring their darkness. So often we would fill ourselves with judgements, condemnations and envy, inwardly dismissing our brothers and sisters for their weakness rather than beholding and learning from their light.

Dear friends, at St. John’s we are all called to see the shining gift of light in every heart. That is why the chasuble that the priest wares changes from the U that we usually find, to the eight glistening diamonds that we see now. The eight shining diamonds are a symbol of the new community, where each individual recognizes the diamond-light in the other- where each separate human ego is filled with the light of the other. For the secret of true community lives in the art of learning from one another.

May He strengthen this learning. May He unite us with His light.

This contemplation by Rev. Evans was inspired by Saskia and the St. John’s chasuble.