Happy New Year to you all!
In these first few PartnerConnects of 2020 we will be honouring the life and influence of a beautiful man who passed away in 2019. Jean Vanier wonderfully modeled how human weakness and vulnerability enables us to forge real connections. And in the same way, perhaps all of us have profoundly experienced how community forms when we risk being vulnerable. This value lies at the very heart of SoulStream community.
Over the next eight weeks of January and February, I have invited several Partners to share with us the way Jean Vanier has made an impression on their lives. Let me offer this from my own experience of his writings.
When I read books, I read them with a pencil or pen in hand because I like to mark passages that resonate. For many book lovers this is a mortal sin. But so be it. It is just my way. Here are three passages from Becoming Human I not only underlined but marked with a star.
“Only when all our weaknesses are accepted as part of our humanity can our negative, broken self-images be transformed.” (26)
“All of us carry within ourselves brokenness, as well as shadow areas, dark corners of the spirit where uncomfortable things are hidden.” (30)
“If we deny our weakness and the reality of death, if we want to be powerful and strong always, we deny a part of our being, we live an illusion.” (40)
When I first read these passages, I was just starting on this journey from head to heart. But, in my bones, I knew he was writing something wise and true. Still, I have had a hell of a time embracing this way of weakness, brokenness and vulnerability. My habit of putting on masks has not been easy to break. Deeper than the masks and pretence, I want to be real and authentic – to come out of hiding. And it has been hard work for me. I am still being challenged and invited by these words because the part of me I trust most knows it is the way to life.
I am grateful to be called back to this way of being again and again through the SoulStream community. Thank you, Jean Vanier, for modeling this way for all of us. The world will miss you, but you live on through your writings and through the lives you have touched.
Grateful to be part of a community that holds these values,