On Community

As part of a Tuesday night Community Group, we’ve been reading through Community and Growth, a book by L’Arche founder Jean Vanier.  Let me preface this briefly: as a person who’s jumped around from place to place, communal living has always been a concept I’ve eagerly desired,  but have never entirely embraced; spending only six months in a city can do that to you.  So, when I planned to move to Seattle I made a concerted promise that I would not live alone.

The Southside group has been a refreshing, yet downright challenging, experience for me, especially as I’ve seen so many wounds of my past experiences with trust issues burst open.  I think, at some point in my post-college career, I got it; I mentioned my path toward understanding low-income environments.  but somewhere along the path, I started losing the deeper understanding of not only the physical presence necessary for growth, but also the emotional and spiritual aspects of such a partnership.  He writes:

“It takes time for a heart to make this passage from egoism to love, from ‘the community for myself’ to ‘myself for the community,’ and to the community for God and those in need. It takes time and much purification, and constant deaths which bring new resurrections. To love, we must continually die to our own ideas, our own susceptibilities and our own comfort. The path of love is woven in sacrifice.“

As I’ve been reflecting on the words — oh, those ego-crushing words — it reminds me that it would be foolish to render this business school pursuit as one purely for personal gain.  I want the true spirit of what I wrote in my essays — those on growth and servanthood and discovery — to be a catalyst for growth…not just in my own life, but in the experiences of my classmates and the community.

Shew, this is almost turning into another essay. 🙂


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