Centering Joy

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My very good friend Amanda sewed this labyrinth for me on the occasion of my ordination. It’s relaxing and fun to trace your finger toward the center.

Sometimes, we have to do the tasks we don’t particularly enjoy doing.

and

Sometimes we have to be present to aspects of life that are difficult or unjust, particularly in community.

Both of these, though very different, take certain forms of resolve and commitment. They take resolve and commitment to be present, and they take resolve and commitment to participate in moving the larger picture toward creativity, restoration, wholeness, and vitality.

To do this, it’s helpful to keep a sense of purpose at the core of our reflection and action.

And what gives us joy?

How do we bring it to the center… of our thinking? of our acting?

It’s helpful to keep these at the center, so that when we come to the moments of

… needing to do the tasks we don’t particularly enjoy doing, and

… needing to be present to aspects of life that are difficult or unjust, particularly in community,

we are energized for them — or at least, energized enough — because we are connected to the center of what gives us joy. We are connected to the larger picture and the why-we’re-doing-this of it all.

These give me joy:

-Hearing stories from students and young adults — large stories of formation and calling, and tiny, silly, wonderful stories from the daily-ness of life,

-Cultivating spaces where people feel a sense of belonging through connection, relationship, community, place, safety, a sense of return, and a sense of investing oneself,

-Connecting people to people in a myriad of ways — (have you met this person? do you know this group?) working on shared ideas, endeavors, and belonging in community groups; helping people feel connected to a larger sense of being rooted and related to one another (sometimes with wonderful surprise) thinking expansively about care and connecting people toward care of one another (also sometimes with wonderful surprisebelonging is healing and life-giving)

These are joy at my center.

What about you?

Renee Roederer

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