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September 30, 2016

Wandering brings us to the wild edges of life, where things are no longer neatly or safely contained. We have to embrace more chaos, more messiness, and discover the sacred even there.

Christine Valters Paintner

Indeed it does. Wandering across the globe has stretched and shaped me into the person I am today, forcing me to confront my own privilege, bias, and, at times, naivety. It has tested, and in many cases, upended my assumptions about people and about life, and it has even tested my faith, for I have wandered to places where people believe differently than I do.

Interestingly, and wonderfully, however, it has never shaken my commitment to the core values I learned as a child growing up in church: that there is no greater purpose or calling in life than to love and care for others and for the planet. Witnessing blatant discrimination, seeing abject poverty, experiencing emotional abuse–none of these things has caused me to abandon my belief in the power of love; to the contrary, they have only served to strengthen my resolve, for there is already too much pain and too much drama in this world for me to add to the negativity.

Although I no longer wander much in the literal sense, my thoughts still often wander to the places I’ve been and to the people I’ve met. While I sit here in my chair in Billings, MT, I yearn for others to achieve a peace as deep as I’ve discovered in coming to understand that this life is not about me but about far greater and more mysterious things, and that feelings of love are at the center of those things: love for family, love for friends, love for neighbors and strangers alike, and love for Creation and the Creator, whoever he or she may be.

There is an intangible order to this world that we haven’t yet achieved as a human race but are hopelessly striving for in all the wrong ways. Order will not arise out of political, economic, or legal systems but rather out of meaningful human relationships. By simply loving one another and embracing ourselves and those around us in our current state of affairs and loving one another to the point where walls and fences come down and bridges go up, we will both fulfill our natural cravings for connection and create harmony in this world.

It may seem like a pipe dream, but I believe very strongly that love is the only way. Indeed, as William Barclay wrote in his study of the Book of Mark,

Every economic problem would be solved if men lived for what they could do for others and not for what they could get for themselves. Every political problem would be solved if the ambition of men was only to serve the state and not to enhance their own prestige. The divisions and disputes which tear the church asunder would for the most part never occur if the only desire of its office-bearers and its members was to serve it without caring what position they occupied. When Jesus spoke of the supreme greatness and value of the man whose ambition was to be a servant, he laid down one of the greatest practical truths in the world.

The rest of the world may continue to seek solutions to its problems by electing the right people and passing the right public policy, but as for me, I will continue to strive to love and serve others with a full and open heart whether I change the world or not, and whether it loves me back or not. Call me crazy, but doing so feels so right to me that I know there must be a God out there planting the seeds.

  1. Karina Buechler permalink

    Ah, Cori, as always I thoroughly enjoy your blogs! Thank you!

  2. You’re welcome 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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