The deep mystery of transformation
is that God even uses our shame and pain
to lead us closer to God’s loving heart.
— Richard Rohr
Around 11:00 am last Sunday, right after the Chapel Communion service, I joined my wife and daughters who were waiting in the car just outside Leonard Chapel . . . and we began an Independence Day / Interdependence Way trip to Arkansas.
Thirty-six years ago on a similarly sweltering Fourth of July day, I drove for the first time to the same destination on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs. Though it was still a month before Beka and I started dating, I met lots of folks who would officially become my extended family in less than a year.
This year, my 17-year-old daughter was behind the wheel, and we were on our way to check on 86-year-old “Pawpaw,” who was becoming increasingly dependent and had recently been moved to an assisted living apartment.
While riding along I-30, I thought about the place on Lake Hamilton where countless stories of the extended Miles family and friends have emerged and intermingled for over 60 years. And it was very strange to realize that this could be the last.
That place has been a kind of “holy meeting ground” where the fullness of life has been lived across the generations and shared in stories that weave a way of interdependence and transformation.
How we move into the reality of life matters immensely. What we do with our brokenness and loss can either heal or hinder the life-force within each of us. When we have safe communities grounded in God’s love and grace, we begin to see that God really is working for good through all things. But we need eyes to see and ears to hear.
As I watched some of the traditional ways people throughout our country were celebrating 240 years of independence, I wondered how we might rediscover and be led by, in the words of Abraham Lincoln in his first inaugural address, “the better angels of our nature.”
In addition to celebrating Independence Day, how can we be more intentional about celebrating the challenging yet deeply rewarding “Interdependence Way”? When we discern and follow the way of wisdom we can know through the unity of the Spirit, we realize we really are all in this together.
And that is the way of transformation we are called to be as disciples of Jesus Christ.
While on this recent three-day pilgrimage . . . this Interdependence Way of Transformation was made more meaningful to me as I read two helpful “roadmaps” that I recommend:
1. Richard Rohr’s recent meditations on “Transformation”
2. Daniel Siegel’s book “Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation”
Transformation — Richard Rohr:
True transformation means your motivation foundationally changes from security, status, and sabotage to generosity, humility, and cooperation.
The work of contemplation is “guarding your mind and your heart” (Philippians 4:7) so that a Larger Presence can show itself.
The Christian way is to risk the attachments of love — and then keep growing in what it actually means to love.
The contemplative mind gives you access to your birthright, to what is already within you. Spiritual cognition is recognition.
Change of itself just happens; but spiritual transformation must become an actual process of letting go, living in the confusing dark space for a while, and allowing yourself to be spit up on a new and unexpected shore.
The deep mystery of transformation is that God even uses our shame and pain to lead us closer to God’s loving heart.
Gateway to Silence
Teach me how to see.
“What can we do?
Our species adapts, learns to make do, to live in megacities of millions, bombarded by information from around the planet. But many of us find that we either numb ourselves to cope, or we become painfully aware of the fragility of our condition. How do we find peace of mind? Where are the spaces . . . the mental sanctuaries?”
— Dr. Daniel Siegel