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The Sacred Ordinary

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To hear Father Greg Boyle, founder & CEO of Homeboy Industries, talk is to receive a wake up call in kinship and connection.

Consider this story he shared when I heard him being interviewed by Krista Tippett on her fantastic podcast, “On Being”.

In the projects late one evening, he approaches a 16-year old boy sitting on a stoop in the darkness. The boy looks up smiling and says, “It’s funny that you would show up right now”.

“Why is that?” asks Father Boyle.

“Well, I was just sitting here praying, and I said ‘god, show me a sign that you’re as great as I think you are.’ And then you showed up.”

Father Boyle leaves that brief and simple encounter knowing the day won’t ever come when he will have more courage or be nobler than that 16-year old gang member sitting alone on his stoop. He goes on to tell the audience, “Maybe I return him to himself, but no doubt, he’s returned me to my self.”

It’s not long before he shares another story that opens me up.

At Homeboy Industries, just after Christmas, he asks a teenage orphan boy what he did for the holiday.

“Oh I was here,” the boy says.

“Alone?” asks Father Boyle.

“No, I invited six other guys from the graffiti crew who didn’t have no place to go.”

He named the boys and Father Boyle knew all seven were bitter enemies. “What did you do?” asks Father Boyle.

The boy says, “You’re not going to believe it but I cooked a turkey. I rubbed it with a gang of butter and squeezed two lemones on it. It tasted proper!”

“What else did you have?” asked Father Boyle.

“That was it, just turkey. The seven of us just sat in the kitchen staring at the oven waiting for the turkey.”

And then Father Boyle wonders aloud to Krista’s audience, “What could be more sacred than seven orphans and rivals sitting in a kitchen waiting for a turkey to be done?”

~

How are you sharing your story? Do you feel you even have a story to tell? I’m quite certain your stories are well beyond the ordinary. Better still, maybe they are deliciously real and open AND ordinary.

Let people in. Let them see.

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