Colbert on Gratitude and Family; Contentment with Lao Tzu; Sharia as a Source of Compassion

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 7:01am
Colbert on Gratitude and Family; Contentment with Lao Tzu; Sharia as a Source of Compassion

Recapping a week of touching tributes to mothers, appreciating electricity, and learning to be bored in order to create.

Commentary by:
Trent Gilliss (@TrentGilliss),  Head of Content / Executive Editor for On Being
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Credit: Trent Gilliss License: Flickr (cc by-nc-nd 2.0).

Power was out in our fair city of Minneapolis for nearly a week, and these words from the sage Lao Tzu seem most fitting:

"Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."

During this three-day blackout, I'll draw from the advice of writer Neil Gaiman, who offers this reason for taking a social media sabbatical:

"The best way to come up with new ideas is to get really bored."

Stephen Colbert's moving tribute to his mother Lorna has touched all of us on staff this week. Yes, it is touching and might (will) get you choked up. Not to be overlooked are his insights into his mother's Roman Catholic faith and her deeply held values:

"She knew more than her share of tragedy — losing her brother and her husband and three of her sons. But her love for her family and her faith in God somehow gave her the strength not only to go on but to love life without bitterness, and to instill in all of us a gratitude for every day we have together."

As I raise my children, I think of how I can imbue my children with these life lessons about being grateful for every single day we have on this planet. Well worth three minutes of your day.

Switching gears... an intriguing commentary on sharia law from guest contributor Jennie S. Bev. A recent Pew survey reports that 72 percent of Indonesians, the most populous Muslim country in the world, want sharia law. Ms. Bev says it's not as simple, or intolerant, as we may think... and that compassion and peace may be at the core of its implementation. Read on and give it some thought.

I'll leave you with this thought from Krista (@KristaTippett), via Scott Harrison (@scottharrison):

"Everyone has a vulnerability to goodness which needs to be increased." ~Graham Cooke

And, please know that if you ever want to get in touch with me — to critique, to suggest a voice, to submit a post for publication — you can always reach me at @TrentGilliss on Twitter or at Or follow our show account (@Beingtweets). It's got personality too!

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Trent Gilliss is the driving editorial and creative force behind On Being. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on "The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi" and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent's reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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