There’s a primary thread running throughout this week’s newsletter: men are wounded beings yearning for connection and new forms of companionship in public and private spaces. The process of discovery isn’t clean and neat. There are no tidy solutions. But men and women, as you’ll see in each of the entries below, can acknowledge the messiness before us and let each other into the particularity of the human condition.
A Word from Our Columnists
Omid Safi | Time Does Not Heal All Wounds
Wounds do not heal simply with the passing of time, Omid writes, but time does give us the tools to endure them. A poignant column that drives to the heart of the matter on learning to live with the unimaginable:
“Patti Smith reminds me of what Martin Luther King had said in a very different context: Time is morally neutral. Things do not get better by themselves. They also do not get worse by themselves.”
Courtney Martin | Learnings from a Week-Long Experiment in Tenderness
“I believe that the biggest ‘revolution in tenderness’ needs to happen among and between men. Men are given some margin of error for expressing feelings about the big stuff — getting married or becoming fathers — but there is still far too little room for the full range of their emotions more generally.
I can’t help but wonder how our religious institutions, our schools, our workplaces, our White House, would be different if more men were genuine in public about what they were feeling and when they needed support. If men had permission to be tender in public, the whole world would be different.”
This is one of the conclusions Courtney reached after spending seven days honoring moments of tenderness she witnessed or experienced in public. And it builds on some of the conversations we’ve been having with Richard Rohr on “father hunger” and Brené Brown on male vulnerability. A fruitful read.
Parker Palmer | An Elegy for Trees
It’s rather surprising to read, but Parker didn’t develop a deep appreciation for trees until later in life. He makes up for it in this week’s post:
“I used to take trees for granted. But these days I know that sitting in their presence for a while will leave me refreshed and renewed. I wonder if trees photosynthesize the soul as well as sunlight?!”
What We’re Watching and Reading
Awakin | Business Lessons from a Quiet Gardener
Will Rosenzweig, founding CEO of The Republic of Tea (and a past On Being board member), offers some lovely thoughts on “cultivating the soil” and not just the flowers.
The Reboot Podcast | Everything Is Waiting for You
I think, at one time or another, most of us ask the question, “Is this really what I wanted my life to be?” Listen to this touching conversation with a wildly successful quilting entrepreneur, Al Doan, and his journey to step down as CEO and move on to new frontiers.
The Guardian | How Political Nuance Could Save America
Can self-described progressive voters go beyond the simplistic stereotypes about Kansas — and other areas of middle America, for that matter — and find a new understanding of America? Former On Being columnist Sarah Smarsh with a lovely piece on understanding America in its fullness.
The Poetry Radio Project
Mariah Helgeson | America Contains Multitudes
Traveling around Alabama, a group of filmmakers are asking folks to read a verse from Walt Whitman’s classic poem “Song of Myself.” The result is gratifying and filled with gorgeous moments.
May the wind always be at your back.