we all belong, but we don’t all feel we belong. however, there is more than just belonging. some groups, vanier writes, ‘give security … but they do not encourage personal growth. belonging in such groups is not for becoming.’

belonging to community AND achieving personal growth–that’s what this book is about, but how? ‘when they [communities] remain vulnerable and humble; when the members are growing in love, in compassion and in humility.’

wait a sec! how do you grow in humility? is it like thinking you’re the water carrying the leaf, and then realizing you’re the leaf? is growing in humility becoming more real? does the more you know mean you know less?

know this: ‘the fundamental attitudes of true communities … are openness, welcome, and listening to god, to the universe, to each other, and to other communities…. community life is based on forgiveness and openness to those who are different, to the poor and the weak.’ so, the first step in being humble is to listen to those who are different, followed by a need for forgiveness and openness. ‘community is the breaking down of barriers to welcome difference.’

‘community must never take precedence over individual people. it is for people and their growth.’

what was mum searching for? what am i searching for? she underlined these words: ‘community life, with all its pain, is the revelation of that deep wound [‘an urgent cry to be held, appreciated and seen as unique and valuable.’]’ and ‘the wound in all of us … can become the meeting place with god and with brothers and sisters; it can become the place of ecstasy and of the eternal wedding feast.’

what wound was she trying to heal? seems mum was lonely, seeking not only ecstasy and mystical unity but also belonging in community and personal growth. aren’t we all?

but vanier says communities define themselves explicitly. communities see the enemy within. my communities are not explicit nor introspective. what are they missing? are they communities, or just benign gangs?

don’t i want ‘be held, appreciated and seen as unique and valuable’ too? is that what i’m wanting? my kids too?

‘community becomes the [safe] place of liberation and growth…. community is the place where people grow in love and in peace-making…. we are called to learn to grow in love and forgiveness.’

how do you hold and let go at the same time? grow yet stay rooted? be free?

i may belong, but am i growing too?

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