Sunday, September 7, 2008

"Doing the Work of the Heart": Jean Vanier interviewed by Ian Brown

Ian Brown wrote a moving interview with Jean Vanier on the occasion of Mr. Vanier's 80th birthday this weekend. The interview moved me deeply; there were many sections where his wisdom leapt off the page.
Your best bet to find it is to search "Jean Vanier Ian Brown" and look for the Globe and Mail's headline. The original article was published on Sept. 06, 2008.

On aging:

"And so the whole point, the reality of my life as a human is to accept myself as I am. At the age I have. So that at the age of 80, I live as 80, and not as if I'm 40. Live and enjoy life and don't spend my time weeping, and saying, 'I don't have any more power, people are not coming to see me.' Don't spend your time regretting. Spend your time living."

On prayer:

Ian Brown writes, "I said: 'I have a language with my handicapped son, who can't speak, where I connect to him by clicking my tongue.' The whole half-assed idea just came blurting out of me. 'And he recognizes it, and sometimes responds. Sometimes that feels like praying to me.'


'That is praying,' Mr. Vanier said. 'You see, praying is not doing. It's a moment when we're clicking. A lot of people don't know that. And because they're not going to church on Sundays, they feel guilty. They don't know they're praying. Through compassion. Through peacefulness and thankfulness for who you are. For the body you have, for the age you have, for the family, for the flowers that you see outside. Gratefulness. Prayer is communion and gratefulness.'


'So prayer,' I said, 'is a way of reminding ourselves -'
'- to be who we are,' he said."

6 comments:

WendyB said...

"Don't spend your time regretting" -- very smart.

cybill said...

Incredible, I'm a bit speechless at the moment and I'm going to have to read that again, and probably again...

La Belette Rouge said...

Really beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this deeply touching piece.

materfamilias said...

I read this piece over the weekend as well and found it very moving. In fact, I've got the collected Vanier book on my list now. What a beautiful man.

Deja Pseu said...

Duchesse - the interview link doesn't seem to be working. I'm not that familiar with Vanier, but am looking forward to reading the interview based on the bits you've excerpted.

Duchesse said...

Pseu: I can find it easily by searching "Jean Vanier Ian Brown" but when I try to link it I get Page Not Found- so if you do the search you will find.

I also recommend his wonderful small book, "Finding Peace".