Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Driven Up The Wall

"Community is caring for people, but of course as soon as we start caring for people, we know that there are some people who will just drive us up the wall. Some we will really like, because they think like us. Then we risk falling into a world of mutual flattery. We are all so much in need of affection that when somebody gives it to us we want to hold onto it. Then we say to the other person, "You're wonderful! Keep at it! Keep flattering me! You know, it's nice." We're like little cats who need to be caressed. We then begin to pur.

But flattery doesn't help anyone grow. It doesn't bring freedom but rather closes people up in themselves. We are attracted to certain people, and others put us off. We don't get on well with them. They trigger off our anguish. Perhaps they remind us of our fathers and mothers who were too authoritarian or possessive. Some people threaten us, others flatter us. Some meetings are joyful, and others are painful. When we begin talking about caring for people, then we begin to see how difficult it can be. In community we are called to care for each member of the community. We can choose our friends but we do not choose our brothers and sisters; they are given to us whether in family or in community.

We may be called into or choose a particular community, but once we are in community, the brothers and sisters are given. Some will get on our nerves, others will attract us. But community means caring for each one. If we let ourselves be attracted to those who flatter us or who are like us, who share our ideas, then we won't grow. Growth will come as we come closer to people who are different from us and as we learn to welcome and listen even to those who trigger off our pain."

~ Jean Vanier in From Brokenness To Community

This piece comes from one of my very favourite books.
It is one of a handful I would grab
if I had to choose just a few.


Jim said...

Much truth here; and I will add the name "Vanier" to my list of authors to search out; but what I do not hear said (other than the mention of "growth") is the need for us to allow the Spirit to be the One tending the garden. Too often we see "spirituality" as a task we, ourselves, are to achieve in order to be acceptable unto God. Not so. Relax; be yourself; but be yourself surrendered unto His leading in your life....

in time out said...

Thanks for writing. I have a valentine for you on my site, just right click, copy and it is yours. Thanks for reading, and for supporting me in my ups and downs. ---stacie

Happy Valentines Bloggie Friend ♥

Cat said...

I often times considered why I had difficulties with people who reminded me of my mother... now I get it.

I think I will put this book on my list of ones to look up and read.

Anonymous said...

Good one, Hope.


Pru said...

Oh dear god, the panic that set in at the thought of ever, ever having to choose just a few of my books.
It's a good quote too. Makes me think of my last community and which people made me grow the most.