One of my CPE residents gave me a blessing in group yesterday. She was giving feedback as part of the group’s mid-unit evaluations and when she wrote of me, she indicated her perspective around my blooming. My reflection is a consideration of the compliment, prophecy, and clarity she offered.

May you bloom during the times of aridity and in moments where dryness, undernourishment, or poverty of imagination have convinced you they’re winning.

May you bloom when your roots are parched, splitting, and cracked, volunteering opposing visions of who you are.

May you bloom when the petals of your best production have browned or wilted.

May you bloom when the winds have blown by you to give breath and life to other places, when you’ve felt forgotten by the winds which have nourished you before.

May you bloom when tending has changed, when your life has required more than you’ve had, when you’ve been so empty that you’ve seen seasons ending rather than beginning.

May you bloom when your place has felt so familiar that you’ve lost vision for the particular miracles that make you who you truly are.

May you bloom when you’ve tired of standing where you’ve been, when you’ve felt like the ground of you has offered you little instead of your absolute beautiful, God-blessed life.

May you bloom when you’ve been watched, so observed that the eyes have closed you down to the spectacularity of every soul.

May you bloom when you’ve felt tethered and not rooted, when you’ve felt limited and not skyward.

May you bloom when the particles around you have left you heavy and may you see them as friends in the ecosystem of what the Creator is giving you in every specific season of your wondrous existence.

May you bloom when you convinced you’re finished and may the surprise of it all humble you to be, singularly, the gift of yourself to the world.

May you bloom when you know who you are and when it takes the community to tell you, remind you, convince you, and admire in you who you are.

May you bloom in night times when the only observer is the occasional pedestrian lurking in their own dark places and may, in their lurking, you sense the work of God.

May you bloom when you’ve felt like winter is brutal.

May you bloom when you’ve been trampled, under the feet of people who have intended you harm, under the recklessness of others whose thumbs are intent on your devastation.

May you bloom when you’re conscious of who you are, close to yourself, and filled with vitality.

May you bloom when it’s murky, your is-ness, when the whisper of a breeze is what you have to wait through the brightness or the wetness or the ordinariness of being.

May you bloom when nothing happens, connecting the power of rest with the unfurling and the opening of tomorrow.

May you bloom when it’s time to meet your earth in that basic way, when you’re days are ending and when you must return to give in presumably ultimate ways so that others may continue.

Bloom. In it all.

Leading to Newness

I was reading an article about the great resignation, a term for the accelerated reshuffling occurring in major parts of the United States of American economy like hospitality and e-commerce.

Derek Thompson discusses at the Atlantic a number of historical referents for how workers are reconfiguring their expectations for work, for life, for balance. He suggests that the pandemic and the great resignation portrays the public’s shifting attitude toward work.

He says people are quitting jobs to begin new ones, to begin new endeavors. In pointing to this increasingly consistent finding, Thompson points to historical memory. He says, for instance, that the great fire in my city Chicago led to an emergence and “revolution in architecture.” The fires in the city contributed directly to the skyscrapers the city is known for, identified by.

Sometimes destruction, uninvited and unforeseen, can lead to newness, to invention, to recognition even while ashes and embers settle. Attitudes can change and so can landscapes.

Being Stubborn

I am a stubborn man. I usually soften that description by saying I’m committed. I’m a thinker. Those two things are true but they take form in my stubbornness. They are expressions of stubbornness. At least, for me.

Now, most stubborn people can spot other stubborn folk. We recognize each other even if we don’t speak to each other. We notice the characteristics, the gestures, and the acts which are native to members of our tribe. These are acts I need not write. I don’t want to do all your work for you, and I don’t want to completely out my people!

What I do want to say is that stubborn people, aside from being the best kind of people, have a fault line. At a point, we stop listening. At a point, we stop attending. At a point, we stop.

The stubborn person doesn’t move after arriving at a place because that place is right for them. That arrival, that posture, and that position is psychologically recognizable. So, why move? Why keep going?

We reason within that, having already arrived at ourselves and our points and our beliefs, listening is no longer needed. Now, this fault line can be, and often is, smudged. After all, stubborn people can listen and attend. It’s possible. But it takes a lot to re-engage our ears because we have to hear something compelling and something familiar enough to ourselves, our points, and our beliefs for listening to be credible.

Here’s the other point: all people are stubborn people about something. Everyone makes a commitment to something, some posture, some belief. The question is, what are you stubborn about? When you know that, you begin to be aware of what you’re willing to move from and what you’re stuck on. You can consciously engage with your listening potential.