One of my spiritual heroes is Henri Nouwen. He was a well-known Catholic Priest who wrote extensively on the Christian life. I guess what I like about him so much is his human-ness. In his writings, he never comes off as someone who knows it all or someone who has special access to God that no one else can attain. Instead, he uses his own real life struggles as the starting point for connecting with God. And he is honest about his vulnerabilities. When I read him, I feel like it is okay to be human, that I am not alone in my own struggles. For instance, in his last book Nouwen says this: “These days I feel strong, alive, and full of energy. Still, I am aware that much of that well-being is the direct result of the loving support of many friends. At the moment I do not experience any anger or hostility directed toward me. I feel in gentle harmony with my family, the people in [my work], and the many friends close by and far away. In situations like this I easily forget how fragile I am inside, and how little is needed to throw me off balance.”
When I read words like that I am thankful for a place like this, the Wesley Foundation. So many people never experience the safety of being loved and accepted for who they are, just the way they are. When I was a student in college attending the Wesley Foundation, this place gave me the courage I needed to begin to discover who I was when I wasn’t desperately trying to please people. And it also gave me the safety I needed to live out of that God-given identity everyday. This is a place of gentle harmony. This is a place of laughter. This is better even than the bar on “Cheers” because you don’t have to be drunk or drinking to experience the joy of being loved and accepted. It is true. “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.” This is what the ministry of the Wesley Foundation is all about: connecting students with real love, the love of Jesus Christ, through the community of Jesus Christ.
So come on down. Come and experience what it means to feel strong, alive, and full of energy. Come know what it is to be fragile and off-balance, but okay, all at the same time.