A friend who came into my life through the Transforming Center passed away this week, and as I've been reflecting on my relationship with him, I wanted to write here to try to express something of why his friendship was a gift to me.
As part of the Transforming Community experience (which I describe as having saved my life), I wrote quarterly reflection papers. These weren't academic papers, and they weren't for grades. Rather, they were a space in which I could reflect on teachings and readings from the quarter and how they intersected (or sometimes, crashed into) with my life as I was experiencing it.
My two years in my initial Transforming Community experience were difficult ones, as within those two years and the months following I made drastic (and drastically needed) changes in my lifestyle and my approach to ministry, and I lost my dad to cancer.
In the context of those difficult years, I needed the space provided by those reflection papers to wrestle with things. I needed to reflect honestly on my life as I had been living it, why I was not on the road to becoming the kind of person I wanted to be, and how I might be able to reorient my lifestyle around my desire to live a more genuine life with God.
Each person in a Transforming Community who writes those reflection papers is matched with a reader who shares their journey through the two years, asks a few questions to deepen the reflection, and offers encouragement along the way. My reader was David Strieff.
David was reading my reflections before I began to discover spiritual direction, and he accompanied me well. As I wrestled, he was there alongside me. He was encouraging to me in those years, and in the years afterward whenever we would see one another or exchange emails.