Listening to the Wisdom in Our Youth. . .and All Those Who Are Near and Far

“Wholeness does not mean perfection:
it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.
Knowing this gives me hope that human wholeness –
mine, yours, ours – need not be a utopian dream,
if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life.”

– Parker Palmer

This past Tuesday we gathered outside the church in the garden between the sanctuary and Wesley Hall. It was a gorgeous morning for staff to share breakfast tacos, good fellowship, and to celebrate the blessing that is Regina Hawkins. Regina has been an important part of our community for 25 years, not simply as a custodian, but as a prayerful presence throughout… a kind of roving host for holy hospitality. We will miss her presence as a part of our staff, but we keep our prayerful connection for abundant blessings, as she is a blessing for us. She assured us that she will continue to pray for every one of us, and we pray she will continue to bless us by surprising us here in person when able. It was a deeply, heartfelt gathering Tuesday morning, and good for all our souls.

Thank you Regina!

During our breakfast visits, I took the opportunity to tell Kat Bair how impressed and grateful I was for the leadership of Youth throughout our worship services last Sunday. I even said I was surprised by their maturity and honest witness. Kat quickly said she was not surprised (knowing them well in the depths of their unique soul stories). I think what impressed me most, was that they seemed to have a wisdom that reflected a sense of what wholeness is about. They named our culture’s pressures to “strive for perfection” in ways that can separate any of us from the inner awareness of whose we are, and who we are called to be. High School Senior Ainsley Bond even said “Make mistakes!” I thought to myself, this young woman understands courage and calling! Strive for your dreams from a deep awareness of love. Don’t hold back because of fear. Through God’s grace, we are all invited to learn about the power of compassion, and grow spiritually through whatever happens on our life journey. We all need to be reminded of that deep truth.

Thank you Ainsley and all our wonderful youth for your courageous leadership!

Backing up one more day to Saturday… I had the privilege to be on the planning team for, and a small group leader in a live zoom conversation and retreat with Parker Palmer, (sponsored by “The School for Contemplative Living” which was originally based in New Orleans.) The quote above by Parker Palmer was just one tiny thread of the wisdom being woven in this retreat that crossed many state Iines and regions of the US. It was yet another powerful example to me of how we can connect in community with intentional listening for the sacred soul-stories within and emerging all around us.

Thank you friends of “The School for Contemplative Living” community.

In a broken world and in a time such as this, we all need to have intentional times for soul-searching. It is from honestly diving into those vulnerable depths that we find the courage to follow our “strangely warmed hearts” and be the change for healing and wholeness that Jesus calls us to. . .each of us in our own unique ways. As we learn how to listen with more compassion and awareness in grace to our deepest callings, we become aware that God’s Way and economy is actually much more efficient than our busy, ego-driven culture. . .and eternally more valuable than anything we can imagine on our own.

If you are interested in joining with others to explore the deeper truths in our soul stories, this might be just what you need as we finish 2021. We have three ongoing zoom groups for soulful, deep listening. These groups are always open to anyone of any age (and from any part of the world!) Click here for a link to my blog about these small groups. 

Please join us in any of these zoom groups that we often refer to as a “circle of trust” inspired by the writings of Parker Palmer and the networking of the “Courage and Renewal” movement.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Grace and Peace,

Dr. Len Delony
Associate Pastor for Spiritual Formation


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