Belonging to something bigger than ourselves

Belonging to something bigger than ourselves

Above: Rachel and Patrick smile at the camera while enjoying an afternoon of bowling.

A couple weeks ago, on a dreary Saturday afternoon, our friends at UCT Jack Kidd Council #755 hosted L’Arche members at the local bowling alley for bowling and pizza. It was a really fun afternoon together. 

Earlier that morning, I texted a former assistant and now friend to wish her a happy L’Arche anniversary – the anniversary marking when she first came to be involved with a L’Arche community, an important day of celebration in L’Arche life. I extended the bowling invite to her, which she took up. 

“Thanks for wishing me a happy anniversary,” she said as we both waited our turn to watch, yet again, the ball disappointingly slide into the gutter. “I didn’t think anyone would remember this year.”

To be a part of L’Arche is to be a part of something much bigger than ourselves. Often when people encounter L’Arche, whether as a volunteer, board member, assistant or friend, it’s difficult to ever leave it behind; the relationships formed can touch and transform you in profound ways.

My friend’s response was a good reminder of this truth – that that sense of belonging to something bigger is important to name and celebrate. 

The guiding insight on the Charter of the Communities of L’Arche – a document voted and agreed upon by L’Arche communities around the world – is this: 

“Mutual relationships among people with and without intellectual disabilities transform us by revealing the unique value of every person. This experience is a sign in the world that all belong.”

This guiding insight calls us to see and be seen by others, accepting our own humanity and of those around us. It calls us to drop our facade – a scary thing, to let go of the mask that protects us – and open our palms to one another to receive and be received. 

It is a privilege every day to participate in and bear witness to this transformation, and to be aligned with an international organization that so profoundly believes in celebrating the value of each person. 

What a gift to us all that is.

When you support L’Arche, in whatever way you’re able, you become a part of this movement. Thank you.

With gratitude, 

Rachel Vander Vennen
Community Leader & Executive Director


1 comment

Beautifully written and so true. Thanks, Rachel. Take care.

Olivia I Donovan

Leave a comment