The Road to Daybreak

Theologian Henri Nouwen held a dream job – professor at Harvard. While at Harvard, Nouwen met Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, (“The Ark” in French.)

Vanier was one of the true Christian heroes of the past 50 years. A former commander of a Royal Navy air craft carrier, he left if all to serve the disabled, believing in smaller forms of communities where the line between care-giver and care-receiver was largely erased. His movement led to the creation of hundreds of L’Arche communities throughout the world.

The plot of the story after these two met is predictable. Nouwen left the safety and comfort of Harvard and became the pastor of L’Arche Daybreak in Toronto Canada. His book about that experience is titled “The Road to Daybreak.”

Not all of us are called to that dramatic a break from one way of life to another. There is the heroic in what Nouwen did and there is the heroic in those who live more plain lives, more mundane in a sense, and in that ordinary place make invaluable contributions to their families, to their communities, to their world.

Regardless of our station or call, with the beauty of surrender to God, with a life-giving shift from willfulness to willingness, we can all find ourselves in our own story, on our own “Road to Daybreak.”

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