Today, at a perfectly appointed afternoon tea I was welcomed into the group of people who have been actively engaged in L’Arche for 25 years. The group is made up of L’Arche assistants, like me, and L’Arche core members, those with a disability. We are the old-timers who have carried the work and mission of L’Arche for many years. Our accomplishments have been many but that seems less important as I look back. The beautiful thing is the fact that we have been on this journey of friendship for so long.
L’Arche has meant many things to me but today I am most grateful for how living with others in L’Arche has helped me to trust my heart. When I came to L’Arche I was unsure and very tentative about love, trust, and friendship. What I have learned is that resolving issues of trust is not about getting another person to be trustworthy. It’s about me learning to trust myself.
Next week I am in a production of The Wizard of Oz put on by a local community theatre group. My role is that of the Tin Man, the guy without a heart who wants, more than anything, to have a heart. Well, you know the story. He discovers that he has always had a heart; he just had to trust himself.
I was given a beautiful L’Arche emblem pin to celebrate my 25 years in L’Arche. When I am on the stage next week I will have this pin proudly fastened to the inside of my costume. And I will smile because the Tin Man and I have more in common than the audience knows.