Got Religion? by journalist Naomi Schaefer Riley looks at the mass exodus of young adults from congregations nationwide and finds hope in something those of us who’ve given our lives to faith communities should have known all along: It’s all about building relationships. (You can read an in-depth interview with her right now.) Riley saw these truths through the lens of Templeton-funded research and her reporting from communities coast to coast. I’ve seen this in the lives of countless men and women I’ve counseled over the decades.
These days, I like to send people personal notes with photographs I’ve taken around the world. I want to leave them with vivid images—and a handful of words—that they may ponder over time.
Immediately after snapping this photo along the North American Plate in Iceland, I knew that I had captured a geologic symbol of human relationships. In nature, in construction and in relationships, a keystone holds two dynamic forces together in a delicate, precarious balance. Through the years, I have mailed this photo to newly engaged couples, along with an inscription, formatted as a simple poem, to remind them of the dynamic tension and balance necessary to sustain a thriving relationship.
Recently, I visited one of those couples—and I was delighted to see my photo and my words framed and displayed in their home.
Here are the words I send along with the photograph …
strong, courageous trust
imagination, empathy, sympathy,
understanding, honesty, and clear communication.
The bond is sustained by a
a capacity to change both mind and behavior
to create a safety net
where acts of
love and laughter
will be fostered.
PLEASE NOTE: If you care to pass this along to friends, I am giving you permission to reproduce the photograph and the words (please credit me and mention that I’m a writer for readthespirit.com). You’ll find that, if you have a common card-making program available on your computer, the image and words fit together nicely to form a greeting card. If you do follow this suggestion, please email us at [email protected] and tell us how you’ve passed it along. I’d love to hear from you.