Mother Teresa tells this story about a young child called Teacher of Love. "I will never forget one day in Venezuela when I went to visit a family who had given us a lamb. I went to thank them and there I found out that they had a badly crippled child. I asked the mother, "What is the child's name?" The mother gave me a most beautiful answer. "We call him 'Teacher of Love,' because he keeps on teaching us how to love. Everything we do for him is our love for God in action."
My son Nick is my Teacher of Love. He came into my life when he was 10 and he has been teaching me how to love ever since. Everything I do for or say to him is about demonstrating my love for the Ultimate in action. My son came into my life from a severely dysfunctional and abusive household. When I first met him he was in restraints 80% of the school day in a psychoeducational facility. Twenty-three years later he is living in a group home and restraint free. He is a living reminder for me of the transformative power of God’s love.
My neighbors across the street have a 20-year-old son who is similar to the child in Venezuela. His parents are living examples of Divine love in action. Everything they do for him is about demonstrating love for him. They are very aware of how much he has taught them about how to love him, each other and others they come into contact with. While they were nice to us before I acquired my disability, since then they have taught us about love. When Zoe was going through cancer treatments, I would be sitting there working and look up and our neighbor was mowing our yard because it was his way of showing love.
A dear friend of mine adopted a baby several years ago who she knew would have chronic health problems because of the birth mother’s addictions. He too is a Teacher of Love. He teaches us how to walk towards him and love him as he is. He has taught his parents how to live each day for what it is as they never know what the day will bring. He has taught them how to fight for his right to be treated with dignity and respect by every institution created to provide him with services. He has taught them how to live in the fullness of each moment as they realize the next one is not promised.
I am sure each of us knows of someone we can call a Teacher of Love. It is important to remember that as much as these individuals are teachers of love for us, we are teachers of love for others. If you think of yourself as a teacher of love, what are you teaching?
This week may we take a moment to reflect on who are the teachers of love in our life and who are we teachers of love for. I pray that each day I may find an opportunity to seek out those who can both teach me and learn from me about radiating love into the world.