The On Being Project

The Shoes of a Boy; The Work We Value and the Community We Discover; On Lost Light and Heartbreak; What We’re Reading for the Week

The photograph of a small Syrian boy’s lifeless body washed onto the beach awakened the world to the largest refugee crisis in decades — a topic Omid Safi wanted to address in his Thursday column. That morning, I reached out to him, anxiously awaiting to read and edit. He replied, “To be honest it has really gotten to me, and I am trying to balance my own tears with having something to say that pushes the conversation forward.”

(Mustafa Khayat / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).)

So, we took a couple of extra days to publish. And I’m glad we did. Here, Omid shares his heartbreak and reminds us that love and compassion must lead toward action, reaching across geographical boundaries and borders of faith:

“The question as always, is not where is God, but rather where is humanity?”

“The skills gap is a reflection of what we value. To close the gap, we need to change the way the country feels about work.”

One of the pleasant surprises is seeing the outpouring of response to this article featuring Mike Rowe (yes, from Dirty Jobs). He offers this smart, compelling testimony about the value of work, the skills gap, and our need to return to the reverence for a deeper meaning of vocation and skills. A powerful few minutes I’d highly recommend watching.

The sixth annual Big Sur Mud Run took place despite scattered rain showers on the campus of California State University Monterey Bay in Seaside. (Presidio of Monterey / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).)

As I hope you all know, we continue to welcome you as guest contributors to our media platform, a place where you can be published alongside our columnists. Two posts you might be interested in reading: Mihee Kim-Kort’s essay “Dancing with Dirt and Making Community” on finding camaraderie during a fitness challenge:

“We’re cheering for each other, we’re waiting for each other, we’re talking about life, marriage, and jobs, and I’m thinking: Why isn’t church like this more?”

(Juliana Muncinelli / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).)

And Katherine Hauswirth’s “Heading for the Light” — a call to help recover the lost light for those who are in darkness, and for ourselves.

“Self Portrait” (Jenny Downing / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).)

Loss and heartbreak take many forms, as Parker Palmer points out in his Wednesday column. For him, the politics of rage so often focuses us on lack of action and despair. But, the broken heart is an important political and personal reality, one that can liberate the mind if exercised properly.

Window washers belay down a skyscraper. (Elvis Pucar / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).)

After listening to Krista’s interview with Mike Rose on our podcast, Courtney Martin wonders about scrapping outdated definitions of success. She asks whether the future of work in America could be more than just the type of collar we wear and the ladders we climb.

Stars at Waimea Canyon Lookout (Bo Hakala / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).)

“Benedictine spirituality and Zen Buddhism became the two lungs through which I breathe.”

If you’re looking for a book to read, you might want to check out Bieke Vandekerckhove’s beautifully titled The Taste of Silence, which I was introduced to by Patrick Henry, an old friend of Krista’s.

And, a few things I recommend for those short on time:

  • An Overdue Lesson in Perspective.” Linds Redding, a highly regarded designer and art director who died of cancer, writes this poignant post to his colleagues about his life in advertising: “I’ve come to the conclusion that the whole thing was a bit of a con. A scam. An elaborate hoax.”
  • “Finding Compassion After Suicide.” A story of a son’s loss of his father by suicide from our producer Lily Percy. The writer Eric Marcus talks about family silence, learning to share his story, and discovering compassion for his father and healing for himself.

As always, I welcome any feedback you might offer on our work, on this letter, on our radio program and podcast and website. It’s an honor to do this work and your kind (and critical) words are a necessary part of our growth. Please reach out to me via email at [email protected] or via Twitter at @trentgilliss.

May the wind always be at your back.
Trent

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