Really listening to my students also challenges me to see course material with new eyes—their eyes. It forces me to approach the familiar grounds of knowledge using unfamiliar pathways. At its best moments, listening to my students equalizes us as we become collaborators in the project of learning.
The first time I saw a passionflower I very nearly tripped over my own astonishment. There was something unaccountable about that firework of purple— an unnatural, extravagant beauty. It was the only bloom in an otherwise untended scratch of dirt, and it seemed to be staging a cheerful rebellion against its uninspired surroundings, as if enjoying the irrational pleasure of hurling splendor into the world.
Everything in life bends toward change, which is why I suppose there are so many travel narratives in the Christian Bible. In fact, the world “pilgrimage” in Psalm 84 is more literally translated as “highways” or “paths”—blessed is he whose heart is set on travel. But the truth is, the travel of the pilgrims in Psalm 84 looks nothing like the travel that I’m used to. In my experience, travel is an uncomfortable business, filled with lumpy beds and exhausting days.