The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all. ~Frederick Buechner

Jean Vanier

What made me join JPUSA thirty years ago, and would I do the same thing today?

That thing I was looking for back then is the same thing I’m looking for today. Affirmation, fitting in, fulfillment. A calling. Daily, I’m reminded that I’m still walking, still chasing, still swimming through unknown waters, still grappling with large, looming questions.

And I ask myself, is this the way of faith?

Jean Vanier once opened his address to Jesus People USA with the greeting: “Isn’t community terrible?” And he was answered with resounding applause followed by knowing laughter. I can think of nothing else in life that can inflict more pain than church and community. Yet, I purposely chose to combine both.

The past Lenten season I’ve heard a number of talks, sermons, and homilies that have merged in my mind. The underlying message is that this also is the way of faith. In feeling pain, we are alive. Through suffering we are made strong.

Yes, community/church/family/school/our job/life is terrible, but without them what would we have? The terribleness is a sign that we are on the right path, connected to the universe.


Jane Hertenstein
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