(Ovid, Fasti I.493)
Every land is a homeland for the courageous.
(pron = OHM-neh SOH-loom FOR-tee PAH-tree-ah ehst)
Comment: When I was in seminary at Emory University, we were all required to
participate in a hospital chaplaincy program. Each week, we would go to our
assigned hospitals and spend at least two hours visiting with patients as
student chaplains. My intitial and abiding struggle as I went each week was
feeling like I was bothering people who were already uncomfortable and
suffering, and yet, so I was told, I was there to be of some help and comfort
The late Henri Nouwen wrote in his book The Wounded Healer that the minister
must be so at home with him/herself that the minister becomes the host
welcoming guests into their place of healing. In other words, the minister has
to be so at home within him/herself that he/she can put others at ease where
This is the kind of courage that I hear Ovid describing. It is a courage within
the self that makes any place one is home.
Nouwen's advice has never left me. I try to transfer it from the hospital room
to the classroom. There is a certain courage required for showing up in the
classroom each day so that the teacher can make the students--all
students--feel welcome, especially those who do not want to be there in the
first place. It's a courage that begins by looking in the mirror. If I cannot
choose to be at home in this ground called my body, then no ground will feel
(Used with permission)
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