I was reminded, over the last few days, that the decision to be in intentional community is both wonderful and terrible.
Sue Mosteller, a long-time member and significant leading voice in the L’Arche communities worldwide, was speaking on the UBC campus this past week. While speaking to students preparing for ministry, she was encouraging them to make deliberate decisions to use their gifts and capacities for life giving and transformative purposes. She told stories of her experience that expressed the wonderful and terrible dynamic of community life, whether it is in family, church or intentional residential communities.
The typical way to respond to the moments that are wonderful is to soak it up, immerse ourselves in it fully and desire that this would be the normal way of life.
The possible responses to the moments that are terrible could be to find ourselves frozen in disbelief and unable to effectively respond, react in aggressive manners, or experience fear and a desire to flee.
These are all typical human responses. The challenge before us always is to be able to celebrate and honour the value of each person and in the hard times to allow our love for one another to carry us through the turmoil into resolution.
This is life. Yes, it can be messy but it is able to be balanced by joy if we hold to our commitment to “… Love one another. As I (Jesus) have loved you…” John 13: 34