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November 5, 2012 by theappress.wordpress.com

Only day two of orientation into the V&L House and it has been a bit of information overload. Yesterday got off to an interesting start as everyone presented a 15 minute synopsis about who they are/what defines them, followed by food prep for a V&L House alumni barbecue in our little backyard and an official signing of the Covenant to conclude the night.

This morning Father Memo, one of the priests and professors on campus, came for a visit bright and early and chipper as ever while the rest of us slowly trudged our way to the third floor chapel, coffee in hand. Yet his contagious enthusiasm managed to get everyone awake and attentive as he discussed what living in a community actually means, and what it takes to make that community thrive.

Now, most of the time when you tell someone you’re living in the V&L House it is met with a reaction that “Oh it’s going to be so wonderful!” or “You guys are going to be best friends!” even, “It’s going to be such a fun year!” All these are very true, but also a very fantasized version of what this year will be like.

Right off the bat Father Memo acknowledged the reality that, in his own words, Living and thriving in a community is an art. He went on to discuss the importance of communication and growth in the house as well as looking out for one another, even if there are conflicts. To further support his point Fr. Memo explained what he calls, emotional farting, followed by his crazy Columbian cackle. Yes, you read that correctly. Emotional farting, he explained, is unavoidable by others in the house. You can’t avoid someone when you know there is a desperate need for communication, whether it be a listening ear, advice, a hug, or even an address to a problem.

Fr. Memo stressed the importance of being in tune to the emotions of others in the house as well as with friends and family, leading to another important lesson: Not everyone needs to know your entire life story.  The stories of triumphs and struggles shouldn’t all be spilled at one time to every person we meet, but rather naturally unfold, even if only to one person.

When I reflect on our discussion and the other events of the day it all boils down to a familiar phrase; the pen is mightier than the sword. Words and communication propel action, reaction and yes, even emotional farting.


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