Our life is surrounded, enfolded, permeated by so much that we cannot understand, and will never be able to fully grasp. Life itself, death (and what may follow), grace, being a person, growing toward wholeness, suffering, the power and the poverty of faith, freedom and its boundaries, and, of course, Love – all challenge our comfortable and comforting explanations. No concept, no formula, regardless how intricate is able to capture or define all that is.
Throughout this long and tangled history we share, a most diverse spectrum of people has experienced in wonder and awe Mystery drawing near, stirring, calling forth the deeper aspirations and desires of the human heart for goodness, for beauty, for truth, for communion, for love. Some have described their experience as a seductive encounter that evokes personal transformation and serves as a call to action to bring about what is truly good.
From the perspective of Christian faith, the Great Unknown and Unknowable – the more-than dimension of reality – the awesome Mystery is engaged, personal and caring. The Prologue to the Gospel of John (John 1:14) describes in poetic form how this Mystery gently self-immerses into human history, into the marvelous, terrible, wondrous mess of our lives, becomes one with us, and as one of us, sets up a dwelling nearby.
Without domination or imposition, absolutely reverent of our choices, Mystery approaches and journeys alongside us (Luke 24:13-35), inviting us to grow to our fullest, and opening our eyes and our hearts to see what we can do to make our shared sojourn better for those here now and for those who are yet to come.
Often it is only when we look back over time that we recognize inexplicable and undeserved graciousness has been present and active among us, around us, with us, within us, through us. At least that’s how it’s been for me. Mystery draws near. How do we choose to respond?
Who is this guy?
Timothy Stephen Buckley, named after two of his great-grandfathers – one Polish, one Irish – was born and raised in Wisconsin in the Midwest of the United States. He is married, lives in the beautiful state of Colorado in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, works as a writer and serves as a spiritual resource.
Tim is a word person, delighting in language and concerned with communication. Three concepts that have engaged him over the years are belonging, totality and accessibility. Profoundly touched and radically shaped by the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, especially the Gospels, his life has been, and is, a long, sinuous quest dedicated to the wellbeing of humanity.
From sod-layer to dairy farmhand, from lead on a trim line in a foundry to park worker, from janitor to used car detailer and lot man, from freelance journalist to high school religion teacher, Tim worked and wandered and wondered.
It was always about more than simply putting food on the table. A persistent desire to offer his life-energy and gifts at the service of others also moved him to drive a van for the elderly, coach adolescents with disabilities in job settings, coordinate volunteers and assist with routine and life-saving procedures in a hospital emergency room.
Education and formative experiences
Besides a BA in philosophy and an MA in religious studies, Tim has done advanced work in the area of adult spiritual formation. He is trained and certified in spiritual direction and served an internship in retreat direction.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are, and have been, central in Tim’s life since the 1970’s. Their gifts, freely shared, and their friendship have helped to open his mind and heal his heart. He lived for a number of years as a member of communities of L’Arche in the United States, and since 1991 has been a member of communities of Faith and Light.
Tim has traveled extensively across the U.S. and has visited several other countries in the Americas, Western and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He lived and worked for two years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil teaching English as a second language. His wife is Brazilian.
Tim is a bona fide introvert, enjoys sports, being out in nature, hiking, music, reading, theater, movies and good conversation.
Somewhere between self-centered self-indulgence and self-despising self-neglect lies genuine self-love. As You Love Your Self explores this too often misunderstood territory and offers insight into a true and healthy self-valuing, which can only be found by embracing our whole self and in giving our self to others in love.
Building With Discarded Stones offers spiritual discoveries acquired through interaction with people with intellectual disabilities who are at the heart of the communities of L’Arche and of Faith and Light. Look for it at Xlibris.com .
Photos thanks to Maria Cecília de F. C. Buckley