August 02, 2009 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
I had the great privilege and honor to officiate at my nephew's wedding this past Saturday, and am just so thrilled about the new life that my nephew Andy and his wife Stefanie are creating together. Andy and Stefanie are both high school math teachers, so when it came time to offer a message to them during the wedding--I chose to frame my comments in the context of their common profession. The message I gave applies to all relationships in our lives, and so I would like to share some it with you here.
The first thing I said was that in all of the important, long-term relationships in our lives, we need to recognize that we are both students and teachers. Most of the great wisdom of the ages can be be learned in the context of relationships, and so it is important that we are always open to new learning and growth. Love, forgiveness, humility, patience, humor, gratitude, trust, and honesty are just a few of the most important virtues that we learn best in relationships. No wonder relationships are as challenging as they are rewarding!--there is just much for us to learn.
I went on to say that all teachers need to have a lesson plan, a curriculum that they are choosing to following. At a wedding, the chosen readings are indicative of the lesson plan that the couple wishes to follow in their lives. Andy and Stefanie chose, "Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it's own way; it is not irritable or resentful.....(1 Cor. 13). While this is a common reading at Christian weddings, there words are truly an ideal lesson plan for all of the important relationships in our lives.
The final thought I shared at the wedding was that there is one very important difference between the lessons of math and the lessons of love. In math, when it comes to addition, the sum is alway equal to the totality of the parts. In love, the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. This is the mystery of love! One plus one equals, three, not two. In math, if you have three apples and give two to someone you love, they now have two more, but you have two less. In love, the miracle is that when you give love away, not only do you expand the heart and soul of the person you love, but you expand your own heart and soul as well. How's that for a miracle! The more love we give away, the more we have to give. That's an essential difference between love and apples.
Next time you feel unhappy or "stuck" in an important relationship in your life, rather than give up, get frustrated or drop out, why not think of it as simply your opportunity for growth and new understanding about the great mysteries of love and relationships. Each time we feel unsure of ourselves in a relationship may just be an indication that we are now enrolled in a higher level class that will require more studying, new input, and may require that we find a teacher or two to help us learn what it is we need to learn. That teacher may be an author, friend, pastor, rabbi, coach, therapist or wise elder. A wise spiritual person once said, "when the student is ready, the teacher will arise." It is important that we always stay open to being good students in our relationships.
So thanks for reading this far. Class is now dismissed. Or, actually, maybe it's just beginning.
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