Although it has taken over a year to bloom, the seed of this blog sprouted early on a Sunday morning, sitting in the dark in a hotel room in Dallas. I couldn’t sleep and needed to transform all the thoughts in my head into words on a page. As I opened the cover of my iPad and the usual news, email, and social media alerts vied for my attention, I caught sight of a headline about a shooting in Dayton, Ohio. There were 9 dead, 17 wounded by gunfire and a total of 27 injured in the attack.
I was in Dallas that weekend for an Enneagram boot camp lead by Suzanne Stabile – an event I’d been looking forward to for months. Studying the Enneagram has been life changing and life giving for me. My husband had come along with me and our daughter had driven up from San Antonio to hang out with us for the weekend. The day before, as the Saturday session of boot camp was ending, Joe Stabile had informed us of a shooting in El Paso in which 22 were killed and 24 injured.
Two mass shootings in 13 hours. 31 precious lives lost and so many others upended by violence and hate. I struggled to comprehend what was happening in our world. How could human life mean so little?
The theme for the Enneagram boot camp was “what then shall we do” and this question was spinning in my soul. The thread that began to emerge from the spinning was compassion. And this thread began to weave itself into words and I began not just to dump thoughts but craft a response to the hate and anger so prevalent in the world.
Suzanne talks a lot about doing what is ours to do. It’s a key component of the enneagram journey. I’ve always written about what’s in my head. I’ve never let others read what I write beyond what I prepare intentionally for my sermons and church newsletters. I’ve never believed I had anything to say of significance beyond the bounds of my parish.
The gift God gave me that morning, sitting in the dark crying silently and typing as quietly as possible as the words poured out like Niagara Falls, was the assurance and confidence that this is mine to do. I pray it is useful and helpful for you.
In Luke’s telling of the Gospel story, a group of people, after John the Baptizer has just preached to them that they cannot ride on the coattails of their ancestors but must live a life that reflects the loving compassion of our God, ask John, “What then should we do?” John replies with specifics of how they can reveal the God of love and compassion in all that they do, every moment of every day. (See Luke chapter 3.)
Revealing God’s love and compassion to the hurting and broken world is ours to do – all of us, you and me and God together, every moment of every day.
I have reposted here the writings that I’ve shared on Facebook over the past year, with the original posting dates. I invite you to read them as you have time. As I continue to post my writings here, I invite you to join in this conversational journey toward becoming more compassionate people following Jesus in the Kingdom of God.
God’s peace, my friends.
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