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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

The Unasked Questions for Sylvia Boorstein

by Nancy Rosenbaum, producer

My angry self

"How can I catch my angry self before it catches me!?"

This is one of many anonymous questions posed by the 300 people who came out to hear Krista interview Sylvia Boorstein at a live event in Birmingham, Michigan last month. The theme of their conversation: “Raising Children in Complex Times.” Now in her 70’s, Boorstein is best known as a Buddhist meditation teacher and author. She’s quick to define herself as both a mother and grandmother.

We came away from this event with a big stack of question cards, many of which didn’t get posed because of time. Here’s a sampler:

Toughening kids

"Sometimes my husband will say - we need to toughen these kids up; they have to live in a tough world.  How do we balance teaching them kindness/gentleness versus being tough."

Words of comfort

"What words of comfort can we say to our children (22 yrs) when faced with health issues. (Can be major or minor)."

Cultivating caring

"In a time of overbearing parenting and institutionalized narcisism [sic], how do we cultivate caring?"

Spiritual principles for 6-year old

"Spiritual principles for a 6 yr old.  My daughter is 6 — she asks many questions about ‘God.’  Other than modeling behavior do you have other suggestions on how to discuss spirituality when my spirituality is so abstract?"

Anxiety and parenting

"Growing up in an alcoholic family, and with anxiety as an adult, how does one manage anxiety with parenting?"

Looking at the anonymous cards, each one with its distinctive handwriting, I imagine a person on the other side with a longing for their question to be answered.

Which of these questions speak to you? And what responses would you offer?


Sharing Love with a Woman I Hardly Know

by Destiny Dorozan, guest contributor

The Platform of Surrender
"The Platform of Surrender" (photo: Anna Gay/Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

While going through the process of divorcing my husband, living as a single mother with my daughter, working full time in a classroom for severely physically and cognitively disabled children, and going to college full time in the evenings, I began to ponder what true love is. It was during this time that I had the following experience with a wonderful lady, Ms. Fran.

Ms. Fran comes every day to our class, to help us feed one of our students at lunchtime. Her hands gnarled with age, she folds his fingers around the spoon, helping him grip it. Suddenly one day, she turned, leaned into me, and said, “I was very blessed. I had an excellent husband. Fifty-two years, and he died nine years ago. He was a loving husband, an excellent father, and a friend.”

She smiled on that last bit, knowing that everything else grew out of that friendship.

“He treated me like a princess, always brought me flowers for no reason. One time I asked him why he brought them: Did he do something wrong he was trying to make up for?”

He scoffed at her. He told her she deserved the flowers “because you’re a good girl.”

Ms. Fran apologized to her husband for the doubt and explained, “I never asked why again when he brought me flowers. He just kept bringing them, and I kept accepting them for 52 years.”

Today, we celebrated Fran’s birthday in class. We got her a bouquet of flowers and a cake. I was the first to sign the card, and I wrote, “Because you’re a good girl.”

I wrote it good and big across the top. When she read it, her eyes watered, her fingers shook, and she stopped to give me a second hug before she continued reading. She said, “That brings back memories. God bless you.”

After lunch was over, she leaned toward me again and said, “I’ll remember that forever. Thank you.”

This morning, I kept thinking ‘I just want to be special to someone, to share some special relationship, each recognizing the universal love in each other and sharing in it together.’ I had been thinking of how lucky she was to have had the beautiful relationship with her husband and, of course, couldn’t help but wish that I will find that for myself.

Having this experience made me realize that it is not just an experience between two sweethearts. It happens any time two people recognize in each other the love of the universe manifest — become connected by it, share mutually in it. That is what true love is, not the desires of the ego.

Today, I had the experience of sharing love with a woman I hardly know, celebrating her 79th birthday. Life continues to be more surprising, inspiring, and fulfilling than I could ever have imagined. Contented sighs and prayers of gratitude follow.

Destiny DorozanDestiny Dorozan is a student of Clinical Psychology at the University of Detroit Mercy, mother to a beautiful flower, Lily, and a published poet. Her poetry can be found in the online journals Rogue Poetry Review and The Ambassador Poetry Project.

We welcome your original reflections, essays, videos, or news items for possible publication on the Being Blog. Submit your entry through our First Person Outreach page.