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atightropeOn days like today when we have been once again faced with senseless, unspeakable violence, this time on a scale not seen before in our history, it is difficult to even begin to speak of it. My first thought this morning was of a line from Scripture: A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more. (JER 31:15) As we turn in prayer toward the people of Las Vegas – for that seems the only thing to do as the tally of dead and wounded continues to rise – we must lament, as individuals and as a nation. And in the face of the distress in this dawning day, I turn to Meg Wheatley for a way to persevere.

Presence, she writes, is the only way to walk the edge of chaos. We have to be as nimble and awake as a high-wire artist, sensitive to the slightest shift of wind, of circumstances, emotions. We may find this high-wire exhausting at first, but there comes a time when we rejoice in our skillfulness. We learn to know this edge, to keep our balance, and even dance a bit at incalculable heights.

Walking the edge never stops being dangerous. At any moment, when we’re tired, overwhelmed, fed-up, sick, we can forget where we are and get ourselves in trouble. We can lapse into despair or anger. Or we can get so caught up in our own enthusiasm and passion that we lose any sense of perspective or timing, alienate friends, and crash in an exhausted mess.

The edge is where life happens. But let’s notice where we are and not lose our balance. (Perseverance, p.131)