I’ve been listening to the radio show On Being occasionally for years now. For a long time in Austin it was on really early, from 6am-7am Sunday mornings, I think. This coincided with runs I went on with my friend Dave every other week. So the radio would come on to wake me up, and I’d listen in bed until I could force myself to confront the darkness.
Krista Tippett, who hosts the show, is a gentle, probing, insightful and incisive interviewer with guests who are often similarly insightful and incisive leaders of religious and faith-related fields. I didn’t grow up with much religion – and have a lot to learn about many aspects of it – but her show is the first place I’ve heard serious, progressive, intellectual discussions about the power of faith and spirituality in our lives. It’s a compelling show and she’s a compelling host.
That said, I also know that she’s been through some difficult times that have challenged her beliefs and expectations and what she thought she knew about life and relationships.
I found this essay she wrote and found familiar and admirable language in it.
I had to begin a new adventure, and it feels like a great frontier: to walk through the world and be loving, to practice love across relationships and encounters—not just with those close to me, but also with strangers and with people who drive me a little crazy. I have a lot of experience with this already in my history of love, too. We all do. Even in the circles of people we know and love the best, there are those who drive us a slightly nuts and who forever remain a puzzle. But love, on a daily basis in our most intimate spaces, has everything to do with small gestures and gentle words at the right moment, whether I feel them perfectly or not.
…. reminds me a bit of how I think my mother tried to live. She never described anything like this at a high level, but her behavior mirrored the description, giving people the benefit of the doubt and trying to find goodness in challenging people and in those she disagreed with (with occasional exceptions). It’s something I aspire to as well, mostly instinctively (probably learned).
Anyway, the whole essay is worth reading. It’s helpful to read in a time of disillusion and difficulty and fragility.