"Every child, every person needs to know that they are a source of joy; every child, every person, needs to be celebrated. Only when all of our weaknesses are accepted as part of our humanity can our negative, broken self-images be transformed."
— Jean Vanier
Astounding. I was introduced to the existence of Jean Vanier through the Crucible Course I've been doing, but haven't really read a lot of his stuff in detail. My reading list is too long as it is. Yet he is one of these quotable guys, always saying something entirely amazing.
I won't bore you with the reasons why, but I had cause to spend 7 hours in the Accident and Emergency department of our local hospital in the middle of the night, early Thursday. Waiting for a considerable time, you have the opportunity to watch people. And is there such a more vivid place to see weakeness than in the waiting room of A&E?
As I sat there wondering what was wrong with them all, you can see that some of their weaknesses were visible....hobbling, cuts, bruises. However, for many, the biggest wounds they carried were no doubt things of the heart.
And then I think about myself and realise that I'm there as a 'casualty' too. Yet, I'm one who has known in many ways what it is to be celebrated and seen as a source of joy, especially in this last year, and subsequently to see much healing come. And honestly, I have truly received much more than I could ever have given to the good folks I serve day by day and week by week.
What a wonderful act of grace to welcome and embrace the weakness of others. I'm still a spring chicken in lots of ways, but 'the older I get' the more beauty I see behind the facades of so many. The more people we can accept in weakness, the more healing we bring. The more we ourselves are open about our own condition, the more we find that we are not alone and that we find our life and identity in the community that bears the name of Jesus.
"Look at your own poverty
don't be afraid
share your death
because thus you will share your love and your life"
— Jean Vanier