When I pondered the theme of the Year of Peace columns, which is basically “building community,” many thoughts swirled around in my mind.
“What is community?” I asked myself. I sought my answer through definitions.
There were many different definitions and most of them had to do with having something in common, but that didn’t satisfy my wonderings. Next I sought the root definition of the word and found such words as: commonness, everybody, fellowship, courtesy, affability, union, the whole, total, the universe, the world.
That led me to the further question of how I build community and this led me to my poetic heart, which expresses the deepest truth of who I am.
So I offer to the ponderings of my heart in poetic form.
There I saw you in the gutter lying
bruised and broken and almost dying.
Too whole was I your hurt to know
I could not stop and mercy show.
Again I came and heard your pain-filled sighs
stooped and saw your sad and hurt-filled eyes.
More broken then — I sympathized
and thanked the Lord It wasn’t I.
A third time did I journey down
a stranger in my skin I found.
Mirrored there in you was me
no longer could distinction be.
In reaching out to you I found
the reaching had been turned around.
Your brokenness I knew as mine
the crushedness of a common wine.
In our dying sifted together
made we one with one another.
Though I the minister be
I know that you are healing me.
I give you of my bread and wine
and know in you, I will find mine.
One without distinction we
living as we are to be.
No longer can I pass you by
It is within your life I lie.
We are broken all together
And give out to one another.
How do I build community? By realizing that I am no different than any of my sisters and brothers all over the world. Underneath everything, we face many of the same struggles, joys, sorrows, questions, strengths and weaknesses. I think building community means building bridges and reaching out to one another.
I invite you to ponder what building community means to you.
— Sister Mary Jo Thummel is a Sister of St. Joseph presently serving on the Leadership Council for the congregation in Concordia.