Ache leads to awakening. Or can. If we let it. Like a fog, it settles thick and heavy, then lifts—revealing all we knew but could not see. So much like our hearts and numbness, cracked open by lament: All is not as it should be. We admit. And awaken to our role to make it so.

This conversation between Walter Brueggemann and director Eliot Rausch was filmed November 30, 2017 in Cincinnati, OH. Edited by Brandon Bray.

Having stopped and slowed, now we ask: What is mine to do? Who have I long heard, but not listened to? Really. Who is grieving and how can I grieve with them? How can I be in real solidarity with those not like myself? Where to start and what do I fear?

That my little is not enough. And it’s late, probably, I know. But this is the beginning, the emptying of ego so we can learn to live whole-hearted. Trading lies of scarcity and threat for belief in abundance and belonging. My well-being is wrapped up in yours.

So we set out into the wild of the wilderness, departing ache and numbness and not seeing. We ask the ancient question, who is my neighbor? And we turn. We reorient toward one another.

And in time, we will come back to life—full of compassion and curiosity, patience and kindness, discipline and joy. This way is one of infinite wonder. It is not self-serving, not self-centered. It is neighbor as thyself. The new command and the only one.

May the ache awaken us and embolden us with the courage to depart the status quo. To set out on a journey, to seek another way. May we awaken to the mercy of today and the hope of tomorrow.

“Everything they needed for life was available in the wilderness,” says Walter.