May 22 – Revolutionary Love

Friday May 22 – “Balancing Our Economic Realities with Our call to the Margins”  Heartland-Delta 7

Last evening 33 UDM women and men gathered in the Lansing Reilly front parlor area for a 3 hour conversation.  We came to prepare for next Thursday’s Virtual Heartland-Delta Conference.   Our invitation process included consultations from all three campuses.  We looked for a group that looked & sounded as much like UDM as possible.  We had faculty from most of the colleges, staff from all three campuses, some senior administrators, some old timers and some people very new to our world, some Mercy and Jesuit representation too.

After some schmoozing over a light supper — sandwiches and salads, beer, wine, coffee, tea, soda, icy water, and cookies — we introduced ourselves by name and budget area.  I don’t think anyone in the room knew everyone.  We had arranged people in 6 tables looking ahead to next Thursday and used last night to begin a communal life for the people of each table.    “Every person’s stories are worth the listening.  Story listening is maybe more important than story telling.” We suggested the following focus questions.

  • Why did I come to UDM?  Why do I stay?
  • What’s the heart of what I do here?
  • From the perspective of where I work and what I do, how do I see UDM’s relationship with its core defining adjectives — “Catholic,” “Mercy,” “Jesuit,” and “Urban.”
  • What encourages me?  What wears on me?
  • The theme of the conference is “Balancing our Economic Realities with Our Call to the Margins.”  How would you define “Margins”?  How define “our economic realities” and how define “our”?

No one, as far as I could see, wanted to stop.  When we gathered as a whole group for the last 20 minutes, body language said a lot: conversations in twos, in threes, in fours, people leaning toward each other in a room lively with listening.    I woke this morning with the feel of the room in those closing minutes, and looked for a strong poem.    Readers of this list will probably recognize today’s post as one of my soul poems.    Denise Levertov wrote this about the love between a woman and a man but last evening got me feeling that it works for a group of people who share life in a challenging university and a challenging city suffused with the beauty of kinship.

Best to read the poem out loud, with pauses.

Have a great weekend.


john sj

Today’s Post – “Prayer for Revolutinary Love”

That a woman not ask a man to leave meaningful work to follow her
That a man not ask a woman to leave meaningful work to follow him.

That no one try to put Eros in bondage
But that no one put a cudgel in the hands of Eros.

That our loyalty to one another and our loyalty to our work
not be set in false conflict.

That our love for each other give us love for each other’s work
That our love for each other’s work give us love for one another.

That our love for each other’s work give us love for one another.
That our love for each other give us love for each other’s work.

That our love for each other, if need be,
give way to absence.  And the unknown.

That we endure absence, if need be,
without losing our love for each other.
Without closing our doors to the unknown.

Denise Levertov

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