My humanities professor is a genius. She makes me think about the earth in a different way--I leave her classroom changed.
She is an endless well of shimmering knowledge. Scary looking, like Eezma, probably 60 or so--I quickly fell in love with her.
She told us about Thomas More's Utopia, how Utopia literally means "nowhere"--from the Greek; we can never achieve this perfection, only hope for such a bliss. Sentence after sentence of articulate brilliance streams from her mouth—she never stumbles.
She let me in on her personal life today, showing the class a picture of her parents in 1941. There was an audible gasp and how lovely they looked. She talked of Martin Luther: "Marriage," he said, "is the school of love."
Her parents: the first 30 years, hard and grueling. An ultimatum from her mother. Complete transformation from her father. The next 30 years, utopia. She cracks jokes but does not laugh at them herself--I am surprised she is willing to be so exposed and open when she is so tightly knit together, her bun and her suit and minimal jewelry.
I remember the humanities does that to me, too, and maybe everyone if we do it right, because they attempt to teach us, simultaneously, our genius and our frailties—and then we realize we can't take ourselves too seriously.
I remembered that there is no ring on her left hand. I wonder about a vulnerability deeper than her father being angry with her as a child, so many years ago. I wonder, sheepishly, if she cries alone at night, longing for this school of love she can quote so well; I wonder if she is fulfilled. She is so together I deem she must be...but I feel as though she has felt the sting of loneliness maybe more than most in this thriving metropolis of eternal companion hunting and gathering.
As she keeps being poised and never, ever saying the word "um", I wonder if she, in all her studies about being a human, has not had to brave that pain alone and a little deeper because this is what she knows.
She has done her job; I feel empathy and enlightenment about living and being a person, with hurt and joke-making and braving hard things and all that we come to know.
As I pass the people rushing on campus, I itch again to know their life stories. But lately I wonder about their pain, the times they were throwing-up sick and heartbroken with loss or the choice of another; when they were physically weak and exhausted; fitful from a nightmare or frazzled without a job, or visible love, or a dad. I want to grab hold of every person and hug tight when I think of this, that we all have cried and cried until we felt weak with headache and our noses ran out the tissue box.
Thinking of the tears of 33,000 people at once leaves me in awe of the weight of the suffering of the whole world, and my single heart stretches as I think of the One I love who bore the load willingly. As I come to know Him my eyes are open to the vast expanse of others--until my "we're all in this together" sense flames firing red and I want to get up and dance.
He has power infinite to lift the weight. He eases my aches every day--task enough to fill a lifetime. He does this, willingly, tenderly, for all of six point something billion anguished hearts and crying eyes--whether they know Him or care or don't.
When I think of this weight I cannot believe that one day I could be like Him.
I want to try.