A staff member shared this reflection at prayers a few months ago:

A person kneels to contemplate a tree and to reflect the troubles and joys of life. It is difficult to accept that life is difficult; that love is not easy and that doubt and struggle, suffering and failure, are inevitable for each and every one of us. We seek life’s ease. We yearn for joy and release, for flowers and the sun. And although we may find these in abundance we also find ourselves lying awake at night possessed by the terrible fear that life is impossible. Sometimes when we least expect it we wake up overwhelmed by a massive sense of loneliness, misery, chaos and death: appalled by the agony and futility of existence. It is difficult indeed to accept that this darkness belongs naturally and importantly to our human condition and that we must live with it and bear it. It seems so unbearable. Nature, however, requires that we have the darkness of our painful feelings and that we respect it and make a bold place for it in our lives. Without its recognition and acceptance there can be no true sense of life’s great depth, wherein lies our capacity to love, to create and to make meaning. A person kneels to contemplate a tree and to reflect upon the troubles and joys of life. The person imagines mornings and evenings in a great forest of prayers, swarming and teeming with life… The person is learning how to pray.

Prayer Tree – Leunig

Jean Varnier in “Community & Growth” says:

I am more and more struck by people in community who are dissatisfied. When they live in small communities, they want to be in larger ones, where there is more nourishment, where there are more community activities, or where the liturgy is more beautifully prepared.  And when they are in large communities, they dream of ideal small ones.  Those who have a lot to do dream of having plenty of time for prayer; those who do have a lot of time for themselves seem to get bored and search distractedly for some sort of activity which will give a sense to their lives. And don’t we all dream of the perfect community, where we will be at peace and in complete harmony, with a perfect balance between the exterior and the interior, where everything will be joyful?

It is difficult to make people understand that the ideal doesn’t exist, that the personal equilibrium and they harmony they dream of come only after years and years of struggle, and that even then they come only as flashes of grace and peace.  If we are always looking for our own equilbrium, I’d say even if we are looking too much for our own peace, we will never find it, because peace is the fruit of love and service to others… look instead at your brothers and sisters in need.  Be close to those God has given you in community today… everything will resolve itself through love.
More and more I am coming to understand that it is our brokenness that binds us rather than our perfection.  In a consumer society where it always feel like the grass is greener somewhere else it is important to buy-in somewhere and commit to growth in your own patch of the neighbourhood.  In owning the brokenness and needs I bring to community I am humbled to extend to others the welcome I myself receive.  Those plants I want to see the fruit of? I have to help them grow… I pray that you will know  a flash of grace and peace this week.