I really want to build off of the last topic of the week, “Why Are You Here?,” by fostering a conversation of sharing our interests, professional career goals, and other gifts that we bring to this community, understanding that its our gifts that make this community supportive and transformative. All of us are on our own paths and have arrived here to refuel and continue journeying together. What gifts or interests do you bring to this community? Where are you going with these gifts?
The gift I bring is an eagerness to initiate conversation around our individual religious, personal, professional, and academic formations. I think that the gifts we have emerge not merely through our articles we post, but the engagement on them and through them after they are posted. There are so many moments where the transformative power of engagement and collaboration can be seen on State of Formation, where people move beyond sharing their own posts to meeting another co-journeyer and engaging with them in constructive reflection and mutual growth.
There was a great example of this from a week ago. I hope you were able to read, “Worthy is the Cat: Reflections on Feline Mortality and Psychological Mercy” by Rebecca Levi. This is a deeply personal article on the impending loss of her beloved cat. It is a heartfelt reflection on the fragility of life, the importance of mercy, and the power of love to sustain us through times of loss. The comments on the post created a post within the post, as many Contributing Scholars shared their sympathies, offered their own related stories, and built a community of support around Rebecca. Libby was put to sleep shortly after the commenting began and it is evident that the support of the State of Formation community helped in making Rebecca feel a little more supported and cared for in a time of great sadness. This, to me, is an example of the beauty of what community looks like at State of Formation, about what gifts we all have to share with one another as we grow as religious and ethical leaders.
Next time you read an article, consider sharing a gift of your own. You may never know how deeply meaningful that gift might be for another person. Your gifts are valuable and this community is grateful that you have brought them to share on your ongoing formation and transformation.
Peace be with you all,
Director of Community Engagement
(Photo used from “Worthy is the Cat: Reflections on Feline Mortality and Psychological Mercy” by Rebecca Levi)