Jean Vanier (pictured above) encountered the neglect and suffering of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. He decided to do something about it and established a global movement (“L’Arche”) that provides authentic care and community for them. He once said, “The big thing for me is to love reality, and not live in the imagination of what could be, should be.”
How do you love reality, when reality dictates that the world won’t meet your expectations and will disappoint you?
Real love demands attention and dedication. You dare see someone as they really are, and connect with them in that genuineness. You set yourself up for a rollercoaster of feelings, but you keep yourself strapped in until that ride reaches its destination.
Mary Magdalene loved Jesus this way. When all the other disciples had abandoned him, she stayed at the foot of the cross. When they were asleep, she ventured to the grave. There was no sugarcoating his death, and she did not avoid her grief.
Her honesty and courage led to a new Reality, one that called her by name. “Mary!”
Easter is something you experience when you don’t avoid Good Friday. When you endure and confront your chaotic feelings when a relationship dies…a dream dies…a career dies…a body dies.
The cross is reality. And the power of Christianity is that it doesn’t avoid this death. Rather, it empowers you to embrace it so you can discover a different life, on God’s terms and not your own.
Mary Magdalene loved reality. She followed her feelings bravely, from cross to grave to a new relationship.
Jean Vanier loved reality. He followed his feelings for marginalized people, from loneliness to community.
How is God calling you and me to love reality? However God does that, it will take us through the world as it is, and connect us to the world as it can and will be.