Hello, friends. I've become curious to learn how each of us came to care about the subject of nonviolence that draws us together in this space.
Each person's journey is unique, and the access points are many, I'm sure.
Wouldn't it be fun to hear each person's story?
As I reflect on my own journey to getting here, I notice the story unfolding in major chapters that keep extending further and further back into my history as a person in this world.
Eventually, I land at my childhood.
I see, then, that this journey has just led me deeper into the person I have always been.
It begins to seem that my landing here was inevitable.
That pretty much blows my mind.
Maybe you'll find the same is true for you.
Maybe you'll find that trying to pinpoint the moment you began caring about nonviolence only propels you further and further back into the connected layers of your own story.
Maybe you'll find, for you, this was an inevitable landing point too.
There will be opportunities for us to explore the deeper, interconnected layers of our stories together here.
But for today, let's focus on our conscious recognition of this subject.
Let's share how we became aware of the subject of nonviolence and how we made the decision to move toward it.
For me, an initial big step was the 2008 election.
Whereas I'd never thought much about voting before -- usually allowing the faith community to guide the way I cast my vote -- this time I found myself caring to learn about the issues and the candidates.
What I found surprised me.
I found myself caring about things I didn't know I cared about.
- Things like poverty and war and health care and torture.
- Things like international relations and the way we treat the environment.
- Things like civil rights and education and how we each help contribute to society.
In other words, things that made the whole world bigger to me than it ever was before.
I don't share this part of my story to get political at all.
In truth, I'm still working out my views on all these things.
I share this because it was a huge whoa moment for me.
It was the first time I realized the greater implications of my ongoing journey.
What I mean is, over the course of many years, I had slowly become a person who cares deeply about each individual person's journey toward living with dignity and hope and peace. My life had firmly become about these things.
Now I realized something:
Caring about those things also made me into a person who cared deeply about the workings of the greater world and all the people living in it.
That, I guess you could say, primed me for my journey toward nonviolence.
I didn't know it at the time, but within a year of this initial recognition, I would:
- Sincerely ask the question, "Are we called to love Al-Qaeda?"
- Become deeply affected by any notion of torture.
- Consider adopting an ideology of pacifism.
- Ask questions about the difference between charity and systemic justice.
- Commit a year of my life to studying the great peacemakers of history.
All stories, perhaps, worth saving for another day.
But now I'd love to hear about you:
How and when did you begin to care about nonviolence?