“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”
The words of Catholic Worker and activist Dorothy Day have long been a source of personal motivation to break out of my natural tendency to turn inwards during times of struggle. I have walked through valleys of the long loneliness, experienced it alongside loved ones, and many days, I know it through the eyes and stories of our students. While it is consoling to know a sense of solidarity during a difficult season of life, I believe that the power of this quote lies in the challenging, yet rewarding remedy that Dorothy Day prescribes—being with other people.
A community, rooted in love, helps us transcend our challenges and struggles. Other distractions (Xbox is kind of making a comeback in my life) might help us relax on our own, but it does not compare to the satisfaction and meaning that comes from being in the company of those I love and trust. Phone calls with friends, visiting with family, breaking bread with my fiancée, visiting with my neighbors—these are the foundation of a life lived in community, serving one another through the ministry of presence, attention, and listening.
It is perhaps the simplest characteristic of what it means to be a servant leader in our school community. Living a shared life requires no grandiose gestures, huge projects or eloquent speeches. When we take time to have meaningful conversations, to listen carefully, to dream aloud, or share a meal and laughter together, we grow as a school community rooted in love. By being inclusive and reaching out to each other during times of loneliness or isolation, we act like the servant leaders that the Gospel calls us to be.
I know that I have a long way to go when it comes focusing less on myself and being more attentive to others; I hope you’ll join me in working towards being better at creating a community at STM that is truly a loving and present family.
Director of the Center for Servant Leadership and Civic Engagement
STM Social Science and Theology Teacher