Reflection

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Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

  • By Adrian L. H. Graham
    When you’re the only black man in a sea of whiteness, purses still get clutched, and people still cross the street, and hellos still get lost in the void.
  • By Robin Tanner
    We are never numbers to be tallied for turnout. We are more than a sum. Together, we are the hope and courage.
  • By Tim Atkins
    One of my most treasured New Year’s traditions is coming up with a word for the year: a single word that I want to be the theme for my entire year. When I’m questioning what’s the right thing to do, I will look to my word of the year for guidance.
  • By Elizabeth Bukey
    It was disruptive and strange to know that someone had died to bring this hope, and to wonder how the donor’s family mourned at the same time we rejoiced.
  • By Karen G. Johnston
    With a single generous gesture from my older child, her sister's belief in Santa stayed intact that year.
  • By Tomo Hillbo
    The crisis was an opportunity to learn to be fully me and love it, inner turmoil and all. I learned that strength comes from authenticity, never from perfection.
  • By Katie Romano Griffin
    I was made this way, in this body and this skin. Like all beings, I have an inherent good that cannot be eclipsed.
  • By Misha Sanders
    Can we strive to have the grace to back away when our presence doesn’t feel like safety?
  • By Erika A. Hewitt
    We can be cheerleaders for simple joys (even when we don't share them) and compassionate about the fact that we’re all just trying to survive.
  • By Monica Dobbins
    Sometimes grief sends notice ahead of time; sometimes, it shows up as an unwelcome, uninvited guest.
  • By Teresa Honey Youngblood
    There is relief and remorse equally in my heart as the growing season comes to a close.
  • By Rebekah Savage
    This is the beauty and sparkle of spiritual communities: needs arise and beloveds appear to ask, “How can I help?” There’s no fixed timeline, just the spiritual practices of generosity and stewardship.
  • By Adrian L. H. Graham
    Coming out to my family was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I realized that my choice was one of life and death, and I needed to let my secret out in order to continue living, and to do so authentically.
  • By Elea Kemler
    What I do know for sure is that hope matters. One of the best things we can do is to hold hope for someone when that person cannot hold it for themselves.
  • By David Kohlmeier
    If there’s anything sitting in silence has taught me, it’s that silence doesn’t actually exist. Every moment is full to the point of bursting with Reality, whether or not we notice it.
  • By Katie Romano Griffin
    May I always remember that Tango, like life, is a dance of the people. It’s meant to be shared, not practiced in isolation.
  • By Tim Atkins
    There are so many spiritual lessons from the natural world and—in a season filled with Ingatherings and Water Communions—this is one for me: oxbow lakes as a beautiful combination of resiliency, strength, and flexibility.
  • By Tomo Hillbo
    It was my inadvertent letting go that made this wild, interdependent beauty possible. And at that very moment, I knew I didn’t need that sort of control anymore.
  • By Erika A. Hewitt
    When it comes to living our expansive, inclusive, anti-oppression faith, we fall short.
  • By Yuri Yamamoto
    As a hospital chaplain, I often listen to painful stories. We call it compassionate presence, but I may be crying inside. When words fail, I pray and sing.
  • By Lindasusan Ulrich
    If justice is to be realized, our voices must speak loudly—even boisterously—of love.
  • By Rayla D. Mattson
    People of color—and other marginalized people—can’t just want things to be different. It has to be everyone wanting things to be different for everyone.
  • By Liz James
    The stone soup story isn’t about selfish people. It’s about people who thought they were powerless.
  • By Alix Klingenberg
    When we can gently hold things steady, change comes from within; that’s where the real growth happens.
  • By Amanda Poppei
    Who are you going to be, today? And tomorrow? Who are we all becoming, together?
  • By Kat Liu
    It's hard to feel gratitude for something when you're focusing on what’s wrong with it.
  • By Karen G. Johnston
    I call the tall bush on my back patio “Burning Bush” because in autumn its leaves are a fiery red. All winter long I overlooked three uninhabited nests inside of it. For months and months I could have perceived—but didn’t—what was in plain sight. ...
  • By Lindasusan Ulrich
    We can’t always predict which choices will wind up having a huge impact on us, whether it's bringing home a stuffed animal or taking a particular train to Oxford Circus.
  • By Misha Sanders
    Sometimes people show up fully and be with me. And sometimes they cannot, even if they really care about me and want to help.
  • By Helen Rose
    When I internalize cultural messages about the definitions of success or failure—or anything, really—I undermine my own sense of self-worth.
  • By Rebekah Savage
    A haircut, a cup of coffee, or just an honest “How are you?” can be transformed into a powerful moment between two people living in a hard world.
  • By Nathan Ryan
    I saw a woman surrounded by the pressures to conform to adulthood, being the adult she always wanted to be when she was a child. She was as God made her, not who everyone else wanted her to be.
  • By Monica Dobbins
    What could you accomplish this week if you knew you had a ground team wishing you well? Who are the other explorers around you, needing a word of encouragement that would mean so much coming from you?
  • By Erika A. Hewitt
    Despite being warmly welcomed over and over by the greeters, by the family sitting behind me, and by the lead pastor, I couldn’t shake that “guest” feeling.
  • By Liz James
    Over the years, I’ve built up an impressive array of tools for meetings: I-statements, being assertive, and all of that stuff. What I could improve on, though, is knowing when to switch tools.
  • By Elea Kemler
    It is deeply spiritual work to learn to treat ourselves with compassion; to learn to see ourselves, if only in moments, the same way we look at something or someone we find beautiful: a newborn baby, the ocean, a sunset.
  • By Kat Liu
    Outside of the meditation hall, we plan for the future and think of the past. But so often we replay past regrets and worry about future events to the point where we’re no longer present in the present.
  • By James Gertmenian
    Love without justice is not love. Compassion without deeds is not compassion. Faith without action is not faith. And religion without politics is not religion. In my view, people of faith are not entitled to avoid politics for the sake of a short-lived spiritual high.
  • By Karen G. Johnston
    Surrender is the last thing, often the only thing, available. And so we give ourselves to it. We fear it is our end. Sometimes—with grace or luck—we find it is our liberation.
  • By Rayla D. Mattson
    Traditions and habits can be changed or broken and that’s not always bad. It doesn’t mean we didn’t learn or like what we did in the past, it just means that we moved on to something else and that’s okay too.
  • By Rebekah Savage
    My soul nudged me from a hiding place to confess and to seek forgiveness, and only through the grace of the Great Mystery of Life unfolding around us did I receive the blessing of journeying with a beloved, grieving friend.
  • By Alix Klingenberg
    Once I quit drinking, my inner voice and I began the harder work: that of creating a life from which I do not need or want to escape.
  • By Misha Sanders
    In real life, sometimes grief looms largest in December. Sometimes there's one too many dress-ups and the gold tulle makes your legs itch. “I just needed it to stop for a minute. Next time I will take calm breaths.”
  • By Alex Haider-Winnett
    There's nothing simple about the holidays. Joy can feel empty when it is compulsory. The promise of liberation is hard fought and well earned.
  • By Robin Tanner
    Advent is about expectation—radical expectations that undo the status quo—and anticipation: a skillful search for the places where liberation rises from the ashes.
  • By Amanda Poppei
    What, exactly, are we doing when we invite love into our lives? Surely we know that it's much tidier without it, when things stay at a distance.
  • By Daniel Gregoire
    Something new could come out of this moment of discomfort; something like healing. This is our opportunity to reimagine what Thanksgiving could be — and who we could be.
  • By Rayla D. Mattson
    A white woman pulled over and ran over to me with a shopping bag. She noticed that I never have on a coat and I often stand in the rain. She didn’t know if the things would fit, but the receipt was in the bag. She smiled and drove away. As I looked down at the bag, I had very mixed emotions.