Have you ever had the privilege of watching “The Dead Poet’s Society?” Of course, for someone who loves writing, literature, teaching and academia – well, let’s just say it’s a movie I can appreciate. However, “The Dead Poet’s Society” has themes that numerous people can appreciate for an infinite number of reasons. In a way, it’s a teaching movie. A movie to inspire you…and to bring you to tears.
I was thinking about a scene last night because I was thinking about Love. It will take a bit of thought to put this whole thing together, so I hope you are able to watch this clip before we move on:
Even if you have never seen this particular movie, you can tell a great deal of the context by the information in this particular scene. There was some kind of disturbance that resulted in the teacher being removed, the students are terribly torn about the situation, and it appears that they’ll be returning to status quo school process once again.
As perhaps the most tender, or the most committed student takes the first stand toward loyalty to their former teacher,we are afforded – due to good acting and high quality cinematography – a glimpse into his soul. His struggle was colossal. He was visibly shaken at what he was about to do, but he did it anyway. His hands pressed down on the top of his desk, his body rose and his legs took him to the top of his desk to pledge allegiance to his teacher.
Then, moved by his heroic gesture, others followed. Every student reacted differently, but the decision was not light for any of them.
They declared their love and allegiance for their teacher by literally taking a stand, and quite possibly risk getting expelled from school.
I’d like to share one more example with you, because this time…it’s a teacher, “standing on his desk” for a student:
“Losing family. Losing family obliges us to find our family. Not always the family that is our blood, but the family that can become our blood.” This time, a teacher stood on his desk on behalf of a student who had been wrongly charged with a crime of plagiarism. He showed his Love for the young man by standing on the sanctimonious orthodoxy of The Old School who had long honored he and his work, and declaring his Friendship for a young man he had grown to love as a mentee.
In other words, sometimes it is the one without power who might stand on their desks, and sometimes it must be the one with power to do so. In a committed relationship, you both have power but perhaps more or less at different times. Realizing when the one is vulnerable can help indicate to the other that THIS is the time to use their power.
Today, I want to attempt to answer this question of, “How Shall I Love Thee?”
How we shall love our wives or husbands or committed partners or children or comrades or leaders or neighbors is by standing on our desks. Our Captain is he or she whom we Love. Our Captain is those for whom we risk our loyalties and allegiances… and for whom we step away from those who meet our needs in order to meet the One’s need. The One to whom we pledged our Love in whatever way we pledged it.
How shall you love them? By walking along the craggy edge of anxiety and plunging into the fearful space with your Captain, not the establishment. By showing your loyalty against whatever institution or group tugs at your allegiances and by choosing your Captain. Not them…not The Institution or The Popular Way or The Way to Save Face…but your Captain. I shall love thee by risking what might feel better, or look better to gain me some degree of temporary relief or prestige in order to keep my heart with you long term.
I shall love thee…by standing on my desk.