At its best, Christianity has called people to move beyond selfishness to caring for their families, and beyond caring only for their families to caring for their neighbors, and beyond caring only for their neighbors to caring for the outsider, outcast, other, alien, refugee, and stranger . . . and even beyond that: to daring to love our enemies.
My father was born in Iran, home of Rumi, the Sufi master. For years, these words from one of Rumi’s poems greeted my students on the door to my classroom: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is field. I’ll meet you there.” I’m still searching for this field.
One of the ways I’m learning to deal with the enormous responsibility of being a parent is to practice contemplative prayer. I don’t always make time for it, but when I do, I feel better equipped to be the person I need to be for my son, my wife, and really all of the people in my life.
I’ve been an educator for ten years, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to prepare myself to answer students’ questions about local, national, and international incidents of mass violence. Each time there’s a horrific bombing or shooting, our Head of School sends out an email to faculty and parents. The awfulness of the tragedy is acknowledged, and there are links to resources on how to discuss tragedies with kids.