All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
“You owe me.”
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.
–Hāfez, 14th century Persian poet
The other day, coming home late from work, I was thinking about my students and how much I love them, in an unconditional way that I have never quite experienced with anyone else. When I pass by them in the hallways, or see them circled around me nestled in their desks, or when they come up and chat with me during break times, my chest warms and my hearts lifts and my stomach flutters. I am filled with this urge to help them and support them and serve them–and become a better person in order to better help them–even though I don’t get anything in return from them by doing so.
“I really want to meet and have more students,” I thought that night, “so I can teach them and help them, because every student I’ve taught I loved, and I want more students to love.”
And I realized at that moment–it’s by helping people that we grow to love them unconditionally. There is a connection between service and love. We learn to love, and grow to love others, through service.*
It’s a mysterious connection–I have not come up with a logical progression of thought as to why helping others leads to this profound empathy and attachment–but somehow, I know it’s true and I know serving others is going to have to continue to be a theme in my life.
*Just like the Jesuits at my school always said!