Now I know. For how long I will hold onto this knowledge, this walking epiphany, however, I do not know. The truth now fills my mind, as vividly as a laser beam through a diamond, that there is nothing greater than love. Nothing more powerful and lasting than love. Nothing shall save the world but love; nothing, as well, shall destroy the world -- in its pallid, corrupted accretions -- besides love.
I now know because today was my last day of teaching at Viator. It ends three years of teaching conversational English to Taiwanese students from ages 13 to 17. As the day progressed, my students warmth and affection increased. All day I was handed little hand-drawn goodbye cards, full of heroically written, albeit adorably broken, English. They showed me such tenderness, such happiness, such regret for my departure. They showed me such love. After months of teaching them English, my students in a few hours taught me what love means. I, the teacher "on high," have been showered with so much love "from below" -- hat can I do but speak the one Christian truth that sums them all up? Indeed: All is grace; all is gift; all is privilege; all is love.
The most poignant moment came in my second to last class. I was kneeling at a couple desks talking with a few students, when, suddenly, one of them, "Amy Fish", suddenly uttered the most delicate sentence I have heard in recent memory: "Teacher, I really wanna cry." Boom.
For a Taiwanese middle school girl to say something like that so directly, so unaffectedly, and so lovingly -- it was as if a long-sleeping oracle whimpered into my ear. I touched the top of her head very gently, diffidently, saying, "I know... I understand... it's okay." Much of the rest of the class was spent with me signing girls' arms.
Only at the end of the day did I let myself cry.
[That's all I can write at the moment, but I hope to expand this post in the next day or two. it may not happen for some time, though (as is my wont), since I must prepare for my 2.5 week trip to mainland China.]