I was invited tonight into a l’Arche community for an evening. Off and on all day I wondered about the invitation and what I had to offer to those who live in this community.
And now after spending three or so hours in their midst the truth is I indeed had very little to offer them but they sure modeled something hugely powerful to me.
The residents are adults who are severely physically, emotionally and mentally handicapped, some cannot speak and some never stop speaking, many have been either ignored or rejected by almost everyone who crossed their earlier paths – and yet they welcomed me with hearts and arms wide open. They offered their love without hesitation and with full expectation their love would be received and love would be returned. They touched, hugged and kissed with pure innocent hearts with no concern or even thought about being misunderstood. There was such transparency, such spontaneity, such realness and it brought our differences into stark focus.
I saw in a brighter light the size of my hesitation to take the risk of offering love or accepting love, the moments of touching I have missed for fear of being misunderstood, the times of not opening or offering my heart to another out of fear of it being rejected or crushed
this l’Arche residence overflowed with joy – there was much spontaneous song with no one ever worrying about being on key, or even singing the same song!
there was evident acceptance of one another, an acceptance not in spite of their differences but an acceptance with their differences
I have much to learn from this community and they have so much to offer. I was very moved and quickly accepted when they asked if I would come back next week
Thank you Jimmy, Bobby, Francine, Laura, Dorothy, big George and Sammy. The fragrant beauty of who you are will forever remain with me.