Noted with thanks

Today we heard in chapel that a heart that knows love is a heart that knows gratitude. So I thought it would be good to note down the love I have received today, as a way of giving thanks for:

1. My Hebrew teacher generously rescheduling a test for me, and then choosing to be reassuring instead of condemning when I confessed to doing poorly in it — then my Hermeneutics teacher wisely encouraging me to give myself grace, especially since life in the ministry is going to be a life of receiving criticism. Teachers who don’t only make a libation of their minds, but also their hearts (pardon the dualism).

2. Schoolmates, staff and teachers pouring in their efforts and talents to make chapel a fragrant offering unto the Lord — the beauty of song, the bounty of the Word, the business of administration.

3. My classmates making time to listen and encourage and confide and pray together, whether over snacks or lunch or afternoon teh tarik.

4. Little acts of service and kindness from family and friends, whether it’s preparing a meal, or conveying a message, or taking a photo, or guarding a bag, or commuting together, or sharing a smile, a laugh, a nod or a sigh.

Today we also heard in class that ‘longsuffering’ in the Greek includes the idea of bearing with the inadequacies of others. Somehow defining patience in this way made a world of difference to me. I have so much hesitation about the expectation of having to love love love loooooove people, especially since they and I can be so trying on the nerves. It is heartening and helpful to know it’s not about my way or the highway, but the Jesus way as the only way to life together in the shape of eternity.

I feel much released from the heaviness of the night before. God has placed me in a community, and within that, little communities, where I can be various degrees of my naturally anxious self, and learn about myself in terms of ourselves. That we can blossom anyway when we let our petals and tendrils and leafy bits be held up by the petals and tendrils and leafy bits — and even the thorns — of everyone around us. That we can bloom in all sorts of complex directions and patterns if only we keep our hearts rooted in purity. That it’s not about being a stick-in-the-mud, but about desiring deeper, better, truer than what only leads to loneliness or blame or despair.

I am grateful. For the love I have received, the love I am learning to give, and the love that awaits amidst the agony and the ecstasy to come.

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