Lucy and I have been studying a little bit about energy for her science class during online school. (As I study with her I realize it turns out I don’t remember one thing from 8th grade, by the way!)
We learned about the law of energy conservation a couple weeks ago which states: “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed – only converted from one form of energy to another.”
And right after that, one of Richard Rohr’s meditations spoke right to me:
“If we do not transform our pain, we will always transmit it. Always someone else has to suffer because we don’t know how to suffer; that’s what it comes down to.” (Richard Rohr)
Most people are like electric wires: what comes in is what goes out. Someone calls us a name, and we call them a name back. That is, most people pass on the same energy that is given to them. Now compare an electric wire to those big, grey transformers that you see on utility poles. Dangerous current or voltage comes in, but something happens inside that grey box and what comes out is, in fact, now helpful and productive. That is exactly what Jesus does with suffering.
It is what we can do, too, as we minister to one another.
More important than ever before in these days of division and fear.
We were reading about the beatitudes in our family devotionals last week and I have been thinking about the “higher law” Jesus Christ gave. Not an eye for an eye anymore, but the “blessing” of being able to mourn with those who mourn, of being poor of spirit. The “blessing” of being in a tough situation where we feel the world is crashing down on us.
We may never look at our mourning and suffering as “blessings” when we are in the shadows. Sometimes it takes looking back and realizing those scars have made us stronger.
And better (see “Good Timber” back HERE).
If we work on a positive transformation of the negative energy that comes our way, something miraculous can happen. When we look back, after we have crawled to a vantage point where our brains and hearts begin to work again, we realize that that “energy” that was so negative in the midst of our sorrows has actually gone through that “big, gray transformer that we see on utility poles” and has been transformed from dangerous voltage into something beautiful.
Beauty for Ashes.
(Also from Richard Rohr:) That is what Jesus did: he did not return the negative energy directed at him—not during his life nor when he hung on the cross. He held it inside and made it into something much better. That is how “he took away the sin of the world.” He refused to pass it on.
May we seek to be like those transformer boxes that take all that “dangerous” energy in, and have the ability to not lash it right back out again, which is so easy to do. Instead, may we turn the anger, the division, the pain over in our hands, in our hearts, and try to figure out how to transform it into understanding, compassion and love.
That “energy” is there…like we learned in Lucy’s science class…it cannot be created nor destroyed. But it’s negative parts CAN be converted into something else. Something beautiful.
This is not easy work. But in order to mend our country right now, we are going to need to dig in more than ever before.
This refilled my soul after last night. “Yes!” a thousand times. Thank you, Shawni. Thank you, thank you, thank you. ❤️❤️❤️
Please read and share the following enlightening article on Fr. Richard Rohr:
This Richard Rohr article is low on substance and high on vitriol. There’s no point to your Christianity if it has so much bile and contempt for others. In fact it’s no Christianity at all. I see little evidence of the message of love of Jesus in this post.
As for the orthodox Catholic church it has, sadly, little moral high ground left since has revealed itself to be essentially a coverup for a pedophile ring which thousands of children suffering at the hands of priests that were enabled to continue offending in full knowledge and support of the highest and supposedly most holy of the church.
I’m sure you mean well in your posting but perhaps ‘let he who be without sin cast the first stone’ sink more deeply into your heart. I far prefer tolerance over this hatefulness. I suggest reading the Gospels.
Are you talking the orthodox Church or Roman Catholic Church? There are Orthodox Christian churches which are separate. I am sad to say there isn’t a faith free of such occurrence, nor school system, nor youth organization. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything? Is this man right because another man abused a child 30 years ago? Boomers entered the religious orders, forced change, then left. We are free to read articles and listen to homilies but we are supposed to meditate on the life of Jesus, before the blessed sacrament and scripture, not energy. If you are Catholic you will go through life liking one priest and disliking another. Does he answer to a Bishop and is his order and ministry approved by the Vatican? If not where are they in the process? It’s not unlike Hermana Pothier having rules wearing the name tag and being clergy for her church. Father Rohr sounds like a sister missionary suggesting publicly it’s okay to brew coffee for the aroma during morning prayers. Converts might love it while refraining from drinking it and technically adhering to the word of wisdom, but life long members who never drank coffee might think it odd. That is what some Catholics think of Father Rohr.
You might want to look at the sheer scope of the child sexual abuse practiced by the Catholic Church globally and their continued denial and refusal to be held account for protecting and enabling priests who molested and in some cases tortured children. They still fight any attempts to even pay compensation hiding their considerable assets to avoid paying out damages. This isn’t a case of individual bad eggs but a policy from the top. This makes the church null and void in terms of morals.
Thank you for this. I needed that.
To the anonymous commenter who posted about “new ager Richard Rohr”, I didn’t bother to read the silly article because it’ll be filled with lies.
I am Catholic and moreso am very spiritual and am a contemplative. RIchard Rohr, whom I’ve met several times, is a monk and a priest. He is also a prophet. He is a cancer survivor and actually his cancer has returned so he is now at a point where he speaks his mind very openly and clearly. He lives on the fringes but understands the center. He is the best thing to happen to the Catholic church because of his honesty and his expected accountability by the church. I love that so many have embraced him. His words are timeless, he is wisdom-filled and is he is pure goodness. To that commenter and anyone else questioning him, i urge you to challenge your thoughts, open your mind and put your bible down. He speaks truth. Peace!
You call for an open mind, yet refuse to read the article. Hmm… But since you did not read the article, you should know that it’s his own stated words and professed behavior which indict him. But then again, “there are none so blind as those who will not see.”
Loved the post but the last sentence seemed unnecessary by being political.
Shawni, I love your message and in fact am going to borrow those words that energy cannot be destroyed only transformed. That is a beautiful thought. We are in control of our transformations. Clearly, and it is sad, some readers have not realized this. They have chosen to transform their energy to anger, or perhaps their energy was already in that state. While Shawni can’t interpret what her readers will glean from her messages I’m sure she is dismayed to see a bitter argument occur over it. Instead, let’s open our hearts and find something that is worth keeping. If you’re not here for that I would think you should move on to some other blog that appeals to your senses. Thank you for sharing this thought and beautiful images with us Shawni. You’ve definitely improved my day. <>
Hi, Shawni. I sent you an email, but I don’t know if you use or check the email that was posted on your older blog (I think it was blogger). I was just wanting to know if your daughters take vitamins, and if so, what kind/brand. Thank you.
Thank you Shawni. So well said and thought provoking.
I loved this. At a personal — and a community level. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
So thought provoking! Thank You!
Beautiful post Shawni. It can feel impossible when you are in the shadow of grief and hearbtreak to see that there will ever be anything but awfulness and darkness. I had a hard time believing I would ever come through it or that I would find any gifts in my loss. Almost three years out from losing two of the people I love most in the world I can say that transforming all that awfulness/darkness into something meaningful or good is possible. I am still on the path of trying to transform and it often feels greuling and unending but when you let your biggest loss/grief fuel you-it can be some of the strongest energy in the world. I will say that when it comes to death of a loved one-particularly two beloved children, it can be complicated and that childloss (children I loved like my own but not my mine) espeically is a very unique burden to carry and that while there are “gifts” in terms of my desire to help others and the compassion and wisdom that grief teaches-I would still trade everything I have in this world in order to have them back…it’s a hard thing to balance/process in your mind. I try to let my hope for the legacy of their lives and my desire to see changes to the systems that failed them be my fuel but it does not stop/end the constant battle of the sadness and emptyness of having lost them. But I will say out of the most evil thing that is possible in this world there has been so much good that has been done in memory of them and I know without a doubt that their lives made the world a better place and will continue to fuel countless people to fight for positive change. If anyone is interested a local author in our town wrote a book dedicated to the girls and the proceeds go to support child abuse prevention efforts. Books can be found here: