We’re all being asked to change a lot, aren’t we?

COVID has disrupted our routines and expectations about the ways we assumed life should be.

Social uprisings have sparked us to question — some for the first time, some for the thousandth time, some in more precise ways — what our country is all about.

Whatever we’ve built our ‘economy’ upon seems awfully fragile. (Perhaps knowing the Greek roots of economy would invite us to a more enlightened viewpoint…’taking care of one’s house, one’s own’…and ‘one’s house’ and ‘one’s own’ could be as large as the planet, the universe, THE ALL.)

Maybe you’re inviting yourself to change in ways that are important for you. Many of us in the VITALITY-circle are too.

Change can be difficult.

Change can be wonderful too, as we discover there are new possibilities for how you and I could choose to live on this planet.

How to navigate such change? Especially when change can be hard, unnerving, too much?

I take time to watch the flowers, and ask them to teach me. And then I listen. Maybe with a cup of tea.

It is the lazy, slow life that leads to wisdom, my college scripture teachers used to remind. Shepherds became wise prophets with wild rap-like poems that shattered the hum-drum expectations of the ways everyone expected life to be. How did they do it? How did shepherds — considered by many to be a disgusting, low-wage-earning job in the ancient world — do it? How could they discover ways through the hum-drum lies of the empire, the ‘shipwreck of society’ as Thomas Merton called it and urged more people to swim away from it?

I’ve never been a shepherd, though as I imagine it, such a profession offers a lot of time watching the grass grow, their animals munching so leisurely…the slow life.

Indeed, we get the word ‘amen’ from shepherding. Once ancient nomadic shepherds found a patch of land where their animals would thrive for awhile, they would drive in their tent-stakes, stay awhile. A relief!

‘Amen’ is a Hebrew word that means ‘I drive in my tent-stake!’

I’m grateful for so many of you who replied to last week’s email and shared who you will be in 2021, 2022 . . . your own inner resolving to find a patch of inner territory with which to flourish, to grow.

May we too become so wise as to watch the grass, the flowers grow. And may such watching, such listening lead us to wisdom, to the discoveries that invite important change, now and into the deep future.

Peace, friends!
Brian Shircliff
program director