Like many new assistants at L’Arche, I began my journey with the mindset that I have much to offer and share. Though not untrue, I quickly realized that I would become a student as opposed to a teacher. I have discovered my own strengths as well as areas that need some improvement.
Each member of the community has taught me a different lesson about life. Stéphane demonstrates faithfulness, encouraging me to pray. Krista teaches determination as she works to achieve her goals. Sarah reminds me to take time to breathe, relax, and “take it easy,” as she often says.
I also learn from the assistants who offer so much to the well-being of our community. Victoria, who leads the house with grace. Tricia, who is just fun to be around. Megan, who brings a quiet disposition and an admirable work ethic. I could go on and on, as our community continues to grow and encompasses many members.
My journey began at McKim House many years ago, just one week after relocating to New Brunswick from Ontario. I could not have imagined just how much my life would be changed. Now, as I work toward completing my first year of social work, I am continuously inspired by what I witness at McKim House.
When I think of L’Arche, the first word that comes to my mind is “welcome.” Accompanying this word is a memory of Debbie and me sitting in the living room, enjoying a laugh and a hot beverage. This memory with Debbie also represents “home,” as L’Arche is a place where one can be oneself. Authenticity, genuineness, and friendships are at the core of how life is lived at L’Arche.
L’Arche is not a job, but a way of life. Everyday activities such as shoveling snow, dropping off recycling, or cooking supper together, are carried out with a spirit of interdependence.
Over the years, I’ve lived through many ups and downs with assistants and core members, whether attending retreats, vacations, and weddings together. We have mourned the loss of relatives, friends, and community members. We continue to navigate this pandemic together. While not always easy, relationships and loyalty to one another prevails.
L’Arche is a lived affirmation that we need one another; we are not meant to journey alone.
Casual assistant at McKim House