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Beside Restful Waters

“Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength…He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts….” -R. J. Palacio: Wonder

Maybe you saw the movie, Wonder. I did.

I wasn’t going to read the book as the movie was enough of an emotional challenge. But, here I am watching a movie about the experience of a ten year old boy making the transition from home schooling to public education. His home schooling experience started due to severe facial anomalies from birth, and his need for ongoing corrective surgery. His rehab and recovery prevented attendance at school so him mom home schooled.

Augie (August) Pullman’s facial reconstructive surgeries left his appearance…let’s say, out of the ordinary in such a way that many goodhearted people caught themselves gasping upon their first look at Augie. Obviously, this left emotional scars on a lad of just ten years old.

Palacio offers a glimpse into the life of Augie, his family, his friends, and his bullies. The journey is a reminder of how much I take for granted. The slices of life of the people on Augie’s journey emphasize basic human nature. We all desire and need a place to belong, a place of acceptance and security. We all experience trauma that shakes our sense of reality, our sense of security. Realities become threatened by the traumas of life. Security is jeopardized. We are all called to manage trauma and insecurity.

How is this working for you?

What is the foundation of security?

What is the source of strength?

Where is your space of ease and stability?

We do not need to be recovering from addiction to have our sense of strength, stability and security shaken. We only need to be alive. We need to be aware that our ‘space’ of strength and security often gets cluttered with competing ideas of strength, stability, and security. I expect we have all experienced the sense of being uprooted from our space of security and contentment.

How do I re-establish security and stability?

Augie’s foundation was with his family, his home, on his block of the city. When he found himself in public school his foundation was turned upside down.

I must come to know my foundation so that I can recognize my loss. How do I recognize my strength? How do I come to recognize my space?

I have to start with a look in the mirror. I need to practice looking in the mirror. The reflection I see becomes a source of foundation and security. The reflection fills my space.

I am coming to recognize the variety of mirrors in my life. As a child, the reflections were given from parents, family, friends, and classmates. As my sense of spirituality evolved, the mirror has expanded to a much more universal reflection of the Source of strength and stability. At the same time, the Source became internalized. This still remains confusing.

The practice of communion: The courage to enter in to communion with family, friends, and society as a whole is the practice that offers the reflections, each from the One Source. Strength is a perspective of community. Greatness is a perspective of community. My stability is in greatest jeopardy when I choose loneliness. The need to be alone becomes a space of reflection. The place of loneliness is a place of fear and separation. I am learning the difference.

Yes, I find it confusing, too. But the clarity grows with practice.


We are greatest as we carry each other up.

We find our strength as we carry each other up.

That being said, I find myself in the midst of giants. Only people of gigantic strength can carry me to my current place of courage, serenity and wisdom. To all of you, I am humble and grateful.


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