Intersections, Goals, Conversations, Energy

This life.

It’s so confusing sometimes.

This life.

I seek to understand,

but I’m always in over my head.

This life.

My questions, convictions,

and the very breath I take

are connected to the things

that matter most of all.


I have had several things going over and over in my head. I keep turning them over, in hopes of finding a new angle. I have definitely discovered some interesting things.

Thought #1:

I realized the value of living in an intersection. Low-income, racial and cultural diversity, people trying to build a better life. You know, that better life we can literally see on the other side of the street, where there are big cars, little castles, and a town that goes by a different name. I live with people whose values are largely rooted in family and faith (and food, I daresay!) And I get to call them neighbors.

I live with folks who are accustomed to the temporary, but set up house and live as fully as they know how anyway. Folks who are there to jump-start each others’ cars or watch each others’ kids play outdoors, or just hold a door open and exchange a greeting. And I have learned more about empathy while living in this intersection than I have ever gathered from the news, or the internet. There is a spirit of shared experience and shared dreams for a better life. This might be a holding place while we aim for financial stability and home ownership, but I’ve been here long enough to wonder if I’m being too future-minded. Am I focusing too much on getting out rather than putting in to the community?

Thought #2:

This week, I am making my goal about process rather than product. My goal for the week is to help people get a little more free. There won’t necessarily be tangible evidence, but there will be that witness inside my heart that says I worked hard to make life better. And for the winter blues, it’s much-needed to lift these tired spirits.

Thought #3:

If we want our children to live in a world we’ve made better, we have to start by changing the way we have conversations. I mean, spend five minutes absorbing facebook and you’ll likely pick up another giant bundle of inferiority and shame to carry on your journey through the day. You’ll be tempted to put some of those bundles on others, whether directly or implied. I don’t want this to be the legacy my children inherit. I don’t want them referring to any people as “stupid” or “toxic” or any other dehumanizing term.

So how do we do it? How do we change the way conversations are had and problems are addressed? How do we actually reach the heart connection, rather than short out on the shame or guilt connection attempts? (I say connection, but I mean control, because guilt and shame are about controlling others actions through fear, rather than loving our neighbors. For this reason, I guarantee these attempts will always short out and drive the conversation further from its original intent.)

Thought #4:

I am learning to filter my “should I?” through the energy funnel. I have a lot of things I journal about and could blog about, but I can’t cover it all while juggling the homeschooling and homemaking and all my other projects. I have had to make some hard choices about what I share based on the energy I have to engage. And lately, I’ve been out of energy for most things. It does not mean I don’t care or that I am not paying attention. I am listening hard, ear to the ground- especially moved by the events in Ferguson, and the conversations arising from them- even when my own voice is coming through small. I will share and highlight other voices with more insight and wisdom than I have yet gained. It feels inadequate. It always feels inadequate. I can’t do anything about that but let it affect me in a way that moves me toward empathy and loving my neighbor better. It’s my job to do my best to be an ally, not do my best to prove to the internet that I am one. I am practicing letting go of my need to be perceived as right, or wise, or to have an amazing reputation. This is really hard work, because I love to be seen. This is really hard work, because I've done it before and I thought I had already learned it, but it turns out I have come full circle and need to learn it again. It's okay, because it is necessary work, and is helping me get a little more free. May my heart continue to open as this year unfolds.

Jamie Bagley