People have so great a need to reverence, to worship, to adore; it is a psychological necessity of human nature that must be taken into account. We do not like to admit how people fail us. Even those most loved show their frailty and their weakness and no matter how we may will to see only the best in others, their strength rather than their weakness, we are all too conscious of our own failings and recognize them in others. –Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness, 84
I love that quote. It think it’s so true. I’ve been reading Dorothy Day’s autobiography to learn more about her life and why she decided to start the Catholic Worker Movement. It has helped me understand what her ideology was behind the Worker. This quote reminds me of a TED Talk that was screened for the Loretto Community last week. The video was on Vulnerability… http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html I suggest everyone watch it because everything Brene Brown says will hit home in some way. I had already seen that video on my own one day surfing the web, but watching it again this time it made me feel different. The first time watching it I related so much to the numbness she talked about because I think that’s pretty much what I did when first going into college. I didn’t really get homesick or nervous about starting college and not living at home anymore. I wasn’t excited either though…I just went through the motions without feeling much, and I didn’t like it. This time around I totally understood why vulnerability is so important. Without putting down your walls and letting people in sometimes you won’t get someone to really get to know you. Why would you want people to really know you, you ask? Well for me it just makes me feel more connected. If you are going to have daily (or almost daily) interactions with people who you trust and make you feel good why wouldn’t you want them to really know you, regardless of whatever has happened in your past or what you’re going through? This summer has made me realize how there are so many caring people everywhere, not just at home with friends and family, but here as well! I think if I came here and didn’t tell people what’s been going on in my life I could enjoy being here. As much as vulnerability may seem like a bad thing (this stigma has been put on it here in the U.S.) I really don’t think it is because as Dorothy Day says “we are all too conscious of our failings and recognize them in others”. No one is perfect, no one is free from stress or problems, and we all know that but sometimes fail to recognize it. We shouldn’t ignore it, but instead talk about the things we are going through because chances are someone might have gone through the same. Aside from all this pep talk, or whatever it is I started ranting about, I’ve learned being here that being vulnerable is actually okay. No, it’s better than okay because as much as people sometimes don’t know what to say, I know they’re glad I can open up to them. It just makes experiences more real!
Being in the middle of some big things going on makes me glad to be here. Although I’m not directly involved in issues like immigration or the camping ban in Denver I feel somewhat a part of it because the people that are directly involved let me know about what is happening. Last week I watched a documentary with a group of people Natalie (my supervisor at the Loretto Community) knows. It is called the Harvest of Empire, The Untold Stories of Latinos in America. I personally don’t like using the term “America” because uh the United States is part of the Americas, you know North America and South America…but that’s a whole other story. The documentary focuses on some of the reason people from Latin America migrated to the United States and how in some cases the United States had a lot to do with it. I did not know so much happened not too long ago. I learned a lot, a lot that I never learned in history classes…but that doesn’t surprise me. It was really emotional for Natalie and the two other sisters who have been working with immigrants and have worked in some of the countries mentioned. And it was also emotional for me because I’ve gotten a feel of it since my parents both immigrated from Mexico before I was born. I’ve seen first hand how difficult it’s been for my sisters to pay for college without any scholarships from the government and how hard they’ve had to work for “the American dream”. Now before coming here as I mentioned earlier I didn’t really know too much about the homeless population. Working at the Catholic Worker House I have learned a lot. Today all the workers and I went to a meeting in Denver City Hall about the Denver Camping Ban. Marcus and Sarah have been directly involved in this coalition along with Ben and others that truly care about the impact this ban has made. If any of you are interested in the information that was presented at the meeting today just go here: http://issuu.com/denverhomelessoutloud/docs/surveyreport I believe the purpose of the meeting today was so they could partner up with some congress people about the issue and try to make things happen to change it. Unfortunately there was really not a lot of time left, in my opinion, to discuss it all thoroughly so another meeting was scheduled for next month. Hopefully in this next meeting they get the help they need!
Well just a couple of days until June is over and I will be here for a complete month, half-way done with this fellowship. I have already committed to coming back at least once a year to visit everyone. It’s neat to have a family away from home, at the Worker, at Loretto and of course with my host family. I could not have been luckier!