By John Norton
My family and I just returned from a week with some friends we haven't spent significant time with in about 10 years.
They have a little summer house on a beautiful lake in northwest Illinois. My friend, Richard, and his wife, Mahi, were extremely generous and great with our kids.
Richard spent time patiently working with my oldest, a 9-year-old girl, until she was proudly and happily proficient on water skis. My second oldest, an 8-year-old boy, spent hours fishing off the dock with Richard's nephews and caught enough bass for us to eat a couple of nights in a row. As far as vacations go, this one will occupy a place of honor in our family's memory.
What I found myself reflecting on, too, was how good it is to get out of the normal sphere of activity and spend time with people you normally don't. I know this is not some profound insight. We all know it. Maybe many of you do it regularly. But why is it so surprising when we do it to find ourselves expanded and gaining new perspective by the experience?
It's not that Richard and his wife have different values than my wife and I. In fact, it's amazing how similar we are considering our different family backgrounds and the paths we've taken since our days in college together. But we've come to hold those values through different experiences. Comparing notes, as it were, tests the assumptions that accompany our positions and their application in life's daily decisions.
Sure, we were lucky. It's not always that easy or pleasurable to explore beyond our ordinary circle of contact.
But I think that's part of what we as Catholics need to do, not only to purify ourselves and break out of ruts in our spiritual lives but also to act as leaven and a source of unity and charity in the world.
Maybe that's behind what Pope John Paul II meant by his unofficial motto, "Be not afraid." We've got to fight the natural inclination to be content with who we are and what we know.
There is a lot of good out there we're called to discover and be edified by, and there's a lot of good we ourselves are called to carry out.
As you're aware from what I've said in this space before, our goal with this newspaper is to give you a way to do that.
We hope to provide a Catholic vision on the world, informed by Church teaching, which edifies, sometimes surprises and maybe occasionally challenges you.
I don't know if I can promise it will be consistently as over-the-top fun as our lake house vacation was, but we'll do our best to make it just as worth it.
If you are a reader who has not written to me yet, please do, or send me an e-mail message at email@example.com.
Please note: Comments left online may be considered for publication in the Letters to the Editor section of OSV Newsweekly.
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