Wednesday, August 28, 2013

History

I've just spent three hours on the phone with a most amazing woman. You could say that I have a slight case of telephone ear, and a full heart.

The woman with whom I spoke is a key person in the history of our L'Arche Community here in Edmonton. I've been phoning her every Wednesday this summer, hoping to talk with her about what happened during her time as community leader. Four weeks in a row, there was no answer, or an answering machine with a full memory, which was worrying, as she's battling cancer.

But today, finally, we talked like we've never talked before. She told me so many wonderful stories that after my fingers stopped racing over the keyboard (because my laptop battery gave up) and I said thank you and goodbye, all the emotion of the events I had typed caught up with me, and tears streamed down my cheeks.

Susan is a woman who understands what it is to live as a person with a disability, and who has gone out of her way to involve people with disabilities in decisions that are often made about their lives without their input. She's one embodiment of the L'Arche spirit, and the person who first used the words "core member" to indicate that the people with disabilities in L'Arche are the heart of the community. She understood, like Jean Vanier, that those who are vulnerable make the strong more human, and thus should be at the heart of everything.

Being unable to reach Susan for the past few weeks, I lost a lot of momentum when it came to the writing of our community's 40-year history because in waiting to connect with her, there have been too many other things to do. But now she has put the wind back in my sails. There are so many, many stories to share that I'm wondering how to write them all in a reasonable period of time... but I'm determined to get them down as soon as possible! They're just too good to lose. I only wish everyone in L'Arche could have heard all that I did in the last three hours.

Thank you, Susan! And God keep you well...

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