New York is Always A Good Idea

We all have the intuition that life, even with all of its hardships, is fundamentally good. Its original appeal is continuously being reawakened by things and people – an appeal we can resist, but never eliminate. And yet, we have a hard time relating to many aspects of life: family, work, politics, society, even our […]
Wendy Jones
June 27, 2017

We all have the intuition that life, even with all of its hardships, is fundamentally good. Its original appeal is continuously being reawakened by things and people – an appeal we can resist, but never eliminate. And yet, we have a hard time relating to many aspects of life: family, work, politics, society, even our own bodies and the very food we eat. In the end, since life does not bend to our desires and its meaning remains elusive, we use our ingenuity to construct our own reality and give sense to life. We believe this is the pinnacle of human dignity and freedom. But the reality we try to create, when put to the test of experience, does not deliver on its promises, and too frequently the ensuing frustration turns into anger and violence. What are we missing? Whey do we often perceive reality as disappointing? What can help us reconcile with reality and engage life as it is? Reality as it emerges in experience is so positive that it presents itself as inexorably appealing. Instead of appealing, we might use another word…promising.

Luigi Giussani – Catholic Priest & Founder of the Communion and Liberation Movement (CL)


If the stories I heard over the past several days were the highlights of cable and evening network news, I am convinced that the world would be a more peaceful and empathic place. I just returned from a brilliantly executed New York Encounter, that attracted the likes of NY Times columnist David Brooks  and actor Richard Cabral. The theme given to the encounter was“Reality Has Never Betrayed Me”  and the event was beautifully produced by the Communion and Liberation movement, founded by Father Luigi Guisanni. Over the course of these few days, I discovered a building block to my faith and experienced a deeper sense of freedom in Jesus than I have ever felt. The encounter featured speakers of all different backgrounds, faiths and walks of life. Never for one minute was there a judgement or a superiority among them. Open and real dialogue between scientists, priests, rabbis, and secularists  was exchanged, unfiltered, challenging many ideas, all without pretense and never condescending.


Because this was my first encounter with the CL movement, I don’t pretend to be qualified to analyze or dissect its teachings but I do feel the need to give a testimony to what I experienced. The speakers were so compelling and their insights as they applied to modern life were so keen, that I can only highlight a few favorites here, but they will shape the way I encounter my faith from here forward:

Surrender in todays society is a very countercultural idea. When I am not present, I can be lured into a false reality that does have the ability to betray and lead me astray, but reality starts fresh with each new day and is always available and within my grasp. When I am suffering or my heart is troubled, this is a sign of false reality, one God does not intend for me, yet is available to me based on my free will. As author and recovering addict John Waters brilliantly put it, “thank God the pain doesn’t go away, because sometimes its the only way God gets in.” He went on further to explain that the crisis of our time is that we are looking at a reduced reality, more cells touching cells than hearts touching hearts. It takes courage and energy to enter into this process but only when suffering is used as a catalyst can it be used to improve the human condition. Our longing will never cease until we connect it with the source who created us and in that connection is where the freedom lies. As John Waters also said “Darwin might explain you, and you and you and you…but he does not explain me.”
A crisis becomes a disaster only when I respond with prejudice or judgement. Instead, I should let the crisis allow me to consider how I am living and create an opportunity, rather than a obstacle to rethink my perception…a reality check you might call it. Am I living my true reality? Faith must give us something beautiful to overcome the tendency for religion and culture to feel more like judgement and less like the grace that God is always so ready to grant. Hearing Dan Jusino, President of Emerge, a social enterprise dedicated to building the skills of the formerly incarcerated, the question isn’t what is wrong with you, but rather what happened in your life to bring you to this day and where do you go from here to reunite your soul with the freedom that comes from living the reality that God intended for you. Morals and ethics do not satisfy our human longing when they are cut off from the source. They become powerless, angry and condescending. That’s a lot to consider I know, and this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the powerful words that filled my notebook and my heart.

Do I have the courage to confront reality as God intended for me? Yes, the peace is unimaginable. If greater numbers of people could spend the time I just did with these members of the Communion and Liberation movement and see the joy and freedom with which they live,  I believe that we all could. I am thankful to my wonderful Italian friends, Simo and Vanessa for being God’s presence in my life, I  hope that I could be this presence for someone else.  It feels like the world could use lots of us.

1 2 3 13
hello world!
About the author:
Wendy Jones is a mother of four, lifelong athlete, writer, and optimism & resilience coach and speaker. Through 20 years of parenting and relationship struggles, she believes that vulnerability and our willingness to share our stories is a way to heal ourselves

Related Posts:

What Is Generational Healing?

March 19, 2023 I don’t remember the exact date, but it was a Friday afternoon in 2014.  Clear blue skies, volleyball practice had been canceled for some reason I can’t remember, and our family was on the beach. There were four kids running around in the sand with nowhere else to be.  I remember thinking […]
Read More

One Generation Away

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” - Ronald Reagan As a kid, 4th of July was my favorite holiday next to Christmas.   Staying in my bathing suit all day, feet burning on hot pavement, and popsicles and fireworks in the street are among my favorite childhood memories.  This holiday weekend […]
Read More

The Real Sisterhood

"What if the world was already good? What if what you seek, you find? What if everything wasn’t an emergency? What if we cared more about stories and less about labels? What if we stopped shouting so we could listen?" -Chrissy Kelly greatest mom, friend and writer Her words put a lump in my throat.  […]
Read More

How To Inspire BETTER

I saw Top Gun this week. It’s so weird to see the actors of my youth get older. Like so many of us, it took me back to 1986,  getting dropped off at the movie theater at least 3 different times to see it. Although I loved the story and cinematography, what struck me most […]
Read More

The Top 10 Things I Want my 17 Year old to Know.

Kate turned 17 on Thursday. For anyone who hasn't followed her story, she's the one who stopped playing volleyball to be a theatre kid. And man does she blow my mind on that stage. It's so fun to see her risk, I would have been terrified of that at her age. Maybe she is, but […]
Read More

Is Competing Actually Keeping You from Success?

As a writer, I am thankful that I have a good memory of my early life.  So many of my thoughts take me back to places and days from long ago.  When I am able to feel those feelings of the younger me, it gives me perspective for what I’ve learned and fills me with […]
Read More

My America

Our country is hurting. As much as I am an optimist who looks for the good and the growth in all things, you can’t have a week like this one and not feel like you have been kicked hard in the gut. When you attack anyone’s child, the horrific trauma of an unimaginable situation knocks […]
Read More

Alchemy Over Strategy

I usually don’t have the title of  a blog when I sit down to write, generally speaking it comes last.  But I have leaned into something new that has given me so much peace in the hardest moments of transition  that I knew it was time to write about it.  I’ve been working with Emily […]
Read More

Everyone Needs a Song

Hi.  I’m Wendy.  Even though I’ve written over 200 blogs, you don’t really know me.  I show you glimpses of me in my writing, if you have seen it.  But even though I write openly about my life, you don’t know everything; I suppose that’s how it should be.  I worry about exposing too much. But […]
Read More

Circa 1994

I had the chance to revisit my 19 year old mind this week with a reconnection that happened because of this crazy social media world. I have journals, but the chance  to look back on a letter I wrote to someone else about life in that season, my sophomore year of college, was even more […]
Read More

What Makes A Great Athlete?

Every athlete I know, including myself, has always wanted to BE BETTER.  My mission and this concept can sound a little brash to some but it’s not meant to be harsh, or make anyone feel like they aren’t measuring up. The goal is to put the emphasis on BE (instead of do) so that we […]
Read More

New Beginnings

People care, or they are curious, or both:) When people ask me what happened to my ankle, I tell them I had ankle surgery. “Wendy, you need to start saying I had an ankle reconstruction.” said my amazing PT.  “I did?” I said.  Well, suddenly it made a lot of sense. Both because of the […]
Read More
1 2 3 18
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram