August 9, 2018, 9:22 AM


"In those moments when God’s glory shines in the face of another, we see them as they truly are and always have been, with unveiled faces, the beloved of God being changed from one degree of glory to another. And the same is true for us. For the transfiguration is not an idea. It is not a story. It is not a fable. It is a lived reality."

~ Br. James Koester, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

At a recent workshop on trauma and resilience, we were invited to sit down with someone we did not know, and spend just two minutes looking them in the eye.  It was an interesting two minutes – minutes of embarrassment for some, giggles for others, and a spark of delight for still others.  I remembered Jesus told the disciples that whatever they did for the “least of these” they did for him, so I went into the exercise looking for the presence of the sacred, and I don’t know if I found it or not, but as we proceeded from one exercise to another, I found a person with whom I could share some of my own deepest fears and hopes, a person who would listen and not judge, and I did my best to respond in kind. 

Now, of course, this workshop was intended for people in the helping professions, primarily mental health workers, but still.  It does raise the question, the opportunity, even the hope, of finding such people all around us.  When the focus is not on me but on you, then openness is not just risky, but necessary and liberating.

Would that we could experience such moments with all those with whom we come in contact.  One on one, human being to human being, open heart to open heart. 

I am of the opinion that the only way we can re-create a health-giving society is through relationship.  We know that God has risked all to be in relationship with us; we know that our lives are frequently transformed through relationships with others – if we are fortunate – for the better.  We know the power of friendship when things are hard; we know the joy of friendship when we are celebrating; we are who we are as much if not more because of our relationships to God and other people than how we perceive ourselves internally.  Social groups define themselves not just by who they are, but by who they are not … on and on we can see these truths.

Jesus invites us to be in relationship with God; and then to share the gifts that God gives us in our relationships with others.  Don’t hold on to your love, share it.  Don’t hold on to your talents, share them. Don’t hold on to your treasures, share them.

It’s risky, loving people.  We know that.  We might be hurt, injured, even killed, just because we choose trust instead of distrust.

And I don’t think God means for us to forget who we are, as beloved of God, in any of that.  If you’re in a violent relationship, do all you can to get out.  If you’re the target of racial hatred or other forms of bullying and bigotry, protect yourself.  Seek help.  Not everyone is called to enter places of danger; some are called to help others get out.  And still others are called to help heal the wounds that we bear from trauma.

Not everyone whose eyes you meet will be able to meet yours in the same way.  Some are too afraid, too wounded, too angry, too lost, too confused, too conflicted, to be vulnerable in turn.  Pray for them.  Weep for them.  Remember they are God’s children, too. 

Blessings to all!                            Evelyn+