A leisurely conversation-filled dinner with not a single phone on the table. Religion that was welcoming and inviting (and-not-even-a-tiny-bit-divisive). Morning greetings of "Wow, looking good!"
I must admit that L'Arche, Kolkata, was another experience to behold and left me feeling shameful for ever doubting its sanctity. However, what saddened me was the enormity of need there; how fortunate were the few who had miraculously found a home at Asha Niketan.
On a recent Sunday morning I was blown away by a radio interview of Jean Vanier and his L'Arche Movement. I had never before heard about this humanist and his epic movement where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and share their lives together as peers.
Jean Vanier, the recipient of the 2015 Templeton Prize, has dedicated his life to changing the way the world views intellectual
Jean Vanier Part 4
Jean Vanier Part 3
Jean Vanier Part 2
Jean Vanier Part 1
What kind of a world would it be if the stories and ideas that captured our attention reflected our common humanity? What if key search engine optimization terms were words like kindness, tenderness, forgiveness and humility?
From the covering of our nakedness in Eden to the polite dishonesty of "putting on our Sunday best", pretense is borne from our fear -- fear of being judged, alienated and rejected. Yet it also becomes the prison that keeps us bound up.
Vanier, the son of a Canadian diplomat who was ambassador to France before World War II, began active service in the British
So much of our identity is enshrined in our community, so is it any wonder that when we subvert our "true" identity simply to satisfy our thirst for belonging, we sabotage any hope of actual connection?
In a time of such polarization and protectionism, we might try out a little vulnerability and see what newness might be born out of the fertile soil of weakness.