Today is Easter Sunday. Every year, I look forward to Easter far more than Christmas. For while the message of Christmas offers hope in the form of the saviour baby Jesus, it is Easter’s message of His resurrection that completes the salvation message.
It is Easter that ultimately delivers for me what Christmas first promises: a sure and permanent hope for a better world. And during this season of Lent and Easter, I’m always desperately seeking hope.
Why you ask? Let me explain with one recent experience.
Three days ago, I caught up with someone face-to-face to find out the outcome of a student’s recent wilful appeal. (Don’t worry, our meeting flouted no legal restrictions, and we kept our ‘Covid19 social distance’).
This was a senior manager overseeing a module that I helped to teach at a local institute of higher learning. She was helping me to address the case of a problematic student in my class, whom I had failed in a recently-concluded semester.
The student had wilfully insisted that I had failed her for the module unfairly. She even brought the power of an irate father to bear, unleashing him onto the institute’s management via a stinging email of complaint.
Without going into details of her transgression and her father’s subsequent unfair accusations about me, the complaint succeeded. It wrought a concession and pardon from the management that meant she needn’t redo that module in the next semester.
Though the senior manager and (according to her) even the student’s course manager were on my side, she conceded that this really was a “small matter”.
Especially when compared to the many other more important work issues that needed urgent critical attention. Not the least of which was the mad scramble to transport all teaching materials online in light of the ongoing fight to contain Covid19 and maintain social distancing. And to do so before the new semester kicks in a week from now!
Dragging out this “small matter” would be a drain on their limited resources.
In short, they had to pick their fights.
So they conceded to that student and her dad. And in the process, I lost out and was made to look like I had indeed made a wrong call.
And I nearly lost my hope too.
Hope in the integrity that comes from knowing what’s right and worthy of defending. Hope that, at least in the sacred world of academia, justice can still reign. And students who falsely accuse their teachers will get their due comeuppance.
And all that was lost for what? Expediency and less work.
I wondered too what else was lost. Perhaps a life lesson for this 18-year old student and her father? That in helping her scrape pass this, he’d unconsciously made her less prepared to learn from life’s many failures. She would walk away from this believing that whatever she did, there will always be a safety net beneath to catch her, and restore her to ‘glory’ once more.
In short, a teachable moment for her to learn integrity and resilience was forever lost.
Which brings me to my point at the beginning of this post.
We live in an imperfect world, and to insist on perfect outcomes is an exercise in futility. Unfortunately, I have been ‘futile’ uncountable times in my life. I’m imperfect for sure, but somehow I keep pursuing and expecting perfection everywhere else. Or at least in the area of honest human interactions and integrity in the halo-ed corridors of higher learning.
And so of course I’m disappointed countless times! I know that this isn’t the first time I’ve encountered vindictive students like this girl, and it won’t be my last.
But what if I were to give up hope and concede my sense of right and wrong? What if I were to forego my sense of integrity and what ought to be? Will the hope for me that Christmas began then never reach its fruition in Easter?
Therefore, incidents like this just make me cling more desperately to the hope of perfection that Christmas planted, and Easter revealed. If not, then the world I live in would be, well, kind of like what it is now: with dismal disruptions and shut-ins everywhere. Thanks to this worldwide Covid19 pandemic that has been wreaked upon us.
So may the resurrection message of Easter today restore hope again for tomorrow.
And for our shell-shocked and seemingly hopeless world.