Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Krista Tippett was on my iPod today, interviewing author Michael Rose :

"... expansive reflection on the meaning of intelligence, not merely to education but to all kinds of work, including physical work, and to human possibility...."

While listening to the interview, the illuminated convergence of learning and intelligence and possibility caught my heart. Moments when teachers show up to a student and students are ready to hear teachers. Remember those days?

Tippett talked about moments in her own life when her mind "came to life" and it was "an ache as much as a thrill." She referred to a piece that Rose wrote,

"...And it was this paragraph that you had to go over and over and over again and underline. Where it made your brain hurt and it felt so good... because it somehow opened possibility. And, precious these educational experiences are because [that's when] we get into what my father would call "Real Life," capital "R" capital "L."

Rose replies that these powerful moments can be defining moments,

"... when people talk about either falling in love with a discipline, falling in love with a subject matter, or a teacher who made a difference, it's interesting how often they'll remember a moment...."

I was instantly brought back to my professor for a course called "Operations." I wrestled mightily with the subject, which made me so angry and yet I yearned to get it. My professor said something like "you can understand this - you just have to attack it back." I remember that moment when that professor pushed me. He believed in me: my capacity for work and the possibilities that could unfold for me when I "got" it. But he didn't give me the answer. I worked for it.

Then I remembered several moments in my life when teachers both pushed and inspired and helped me to envision possibilities.

Moments matter.

Today I met with a hospital chaplain for an informational interview. We talked about how vulnerable patients are in the hospital. And how vulnerable chaplains are, too, in the midst of the "we know exactly what we are doing" medical team. As he asked me about how do I integrate vulnerability and presence, I felt a familiar "this moment matters" countenance.

The grace-filled question is still stuck in my heart for an answer. Thanks be to Spirit for showing up in that moment and speaking through us both as we shared new possibilities of being with each other. God really showed up to that moment!

What is your memory of learning moments?

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26 (The Message)

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