Come As You Are.
Something that really draws me to L’Arche is that you can be who you want to be.
Many of us travel the world to get here – knowing no one. Our former Community Leader David used to say during our circle of welcome that no one knows us in Australia and it’s the perfect opportunity to start to be who and what we always wanted to be. It is true and I love this about L’Arche.
When some new assistants come to L’Arche they may pretend to be someone rather than themselves. One may wake up hours before everyone else to put on make-up others try to hide the habit of midnight eating. But as time passes people seem to relax and change. The make-up fades and habit unfold. People become who they really are.
And to be honest there is nothing better to start the morning with a little reflection looking at Katie being as dishevelled after a good night sleep as I. And to have a big laugh about it. I recon this is the best way to start the day.
Being yourself in a demanding society as ours is very challenging. There is judgement all over the world. Everyone has to be perfect, beautiful and strong – every day of the year. But out there are a few little houses in Sydney, in Australia and all around the world were people come together. They eat together, pray together and have often not much in common but the willingness to build true and mutual relationships.
Even though Janine tells me on occasion I would look much better in a pretty dress I know that I am fully accepted for who I am. After a long day Bonfire looks at me and says “you are tired, are you?” sometimes added with a “Have a break, have a KitKat”. For Anthony it does not matter how bad I play the guitar he will always sing along with me. And Katie will laugh about the stains on my shirt or dirty feed. And if it should happen that I have a very bad day I know that the core members will be there to cheer me up with a little joke or a big hug.
Imagine a place where you are not judged. Regardless if you wear cheap or expensive cloths, if you look different or talk funny. Core members will open their heart for you regardless. And all the artificial things that seemed once so important to us seem to have less and less worth.
A place where you come as you are – that’s L’Arche.