sharing life

I've been following " Faith Seeking Reason" for a while now. It's the blog of a Canadian Jesuit Scholastic named Jeffrey who is on an experience in Venezuela. Jeffery's got a great post up today about lots of things, but the bit that resonated with me was on what it means to live in community…

I have been thinking about what it means to share your life with another person. In the Jesuits, we make a choice to share our lives with others, yet I find that sometimes we become distant with each other and live more as house-mates than as a community. Sharing your life with another person means that you´re accountable to that person, you let them carry your vulnerabilities and your joys, you live transparent with them, and you open your heart for them to hold. Sharing your life means that you cast your lot with these people for the long-run and you trust them to do the same with you.

The rest of his post and blog are definitely worth a read. My own community living experiences have been limited to groovy sister reserve weekends so far, but I've noticed similar dynamics at play. The more I open myself up to the risk of being vulnerable and transparent, the stronger the bond and deeper the experience. I commented in my discernment meeting with the provincial team last weekend that my experience so far has illustrated what I knew to be true … living in community in the religious context is quite different from living with roommates. I was unable to put my finger on the difference, but I think Jeffrey points to a part of it in his post. Living in community, sharing your life with another person/people takes work, it takes commitment, and it takes risk to "open your heart for them to hold."


Estefanía said...

¡Hola Susan y todos los demás! (Hi Susan and everybody else!)

I´m glad you´ve invited others to know Jeffrey´s Venezuelan journey through his blog.

On his writings I see how many insightful questions and stories can be extracted from one single place, no matter if you´re living there for a few months (like Jeffrey) or years, like the Spaniard sister he tells us about. I wonder how much I do that in the place and with the people I´m living with. Is my life accountable to them? Are theirs accountable to me and to what degree? I also learn and reflect about Venezuela, since although I have visited the local barrios, I have never taught in one.

When we meet in person (which might
be soon), I´ll thank him for his blog. It is a privilege to be living in the same city (Caracas) and to share, to some extent, some of its experiences (I study in a Jesuit university and take part in a youth volunteer group related to the Jesuits). If we do meet, another story will surely be shared!

Estefanía said...

just to clarify: voluntary work counts as work in the barrios and everywhere else :-P. But it´s not the same as being a teacher at a school. That´s the role I haven´t practised in barrios.