Thursday, June 20, 2013

The L'Arche AGM has me thinking...

For the past six months or so, my visits to my workplace have been rare, because I'm in the so-called enviable position of working from home. Trying to write the 40-year history of our L'Arche community requires a lot of concentration, and sharing the office at the Community Centre with two others and friends from the Day Program (Thomas, Sandy, Harry, Glen* and others) who stop by to chat, while enjoyable, isn't exactly conducive to the kind of word wrestling I've been doing of late. To put it plainly, I write better at home, without interruptions.

But the last couple of weeks, I've enjoyed going to work more frequently because of preparations for yesterday's Annual General Meeting. There were stakeholder packages to prepare and mail out, new documents to be copied for the Board members' binders, files to be organized, and the Day Program to be commissioned to make special, coloured and laminated voting cards for all our voting members to wave during our voting procedures. Besides accomplishing these things, I made one special trip on Tuesday to bring Shadow, our puppy, to meet my Day Program friends, at which time he was immediately scooped up and loved by Leanne. At last night's meeting she asked me, "How's your doggie?"

Yesterday was a busier than average day for me (for which I'm paying with dizziness today), but it reminded me why I love L'Arche so much. From a conversation with a colleague who was hoping I'd apply for an internally posted position, to an unexpected hug from Leanne, to a fond farewell to two Board members who have been amazing, to a powerpoint that was deeply touching and had our community leader sniffling as she tried to go on with other community presentations, it was a lovely day.

There were three moments/events in particular that really touched me. The first was the presentation by Shalom house about how they like to pray. They have been faithful participants in the "A Taste of Taizé Prayer" nights that I've been organizing for the past few years... and last night, they held their own version of Taizé Prayer, encouraging everyone at the AGM to sing and pray along with them to this video of Ubi Caritas:

I'll admit that a tear trickled down my cheek. I had been musing about moving our Taizé  Prayer to other parts of the city, but seeing how much Shalom House (and others in L'Arche) appreciate being able to attend, I'm rethinking that idea. Somehow, we'll have to continue in the southeast, perhaps in different churches, so Shalom can continue to join us.

The second special moment was when one of our non-verbal core members was invited to present a farewell gift to one of the board members whom he has known for many years, and included a heartfelt hug. Frank might not be able to speak, but the message in that embrace was clear to everyone present, and I'm sure it was how we were all feeling towards Norm and Dan, plus a little extra on Frank's part. Norm is his buddy...

The final moment was a simple gesture by Bill, the founding member of our community. When he saw me come into the room for refreshments after the meeting, he patted the seat beside him to say, "Come sit here," in his warm and welcoming way. So I sat and chatted with him for a few minutes. Bill is the core member who most reminds me of my uncle Louis, and I was happy just to sit quietly with him when our conversation ran out.

All of these moments have me thinking about all the good things at work that I miss while working in solitude. I'm more efficient here, but is it really that enviable to work from home? I'm thinking, not always.

I use pseudonyms online for all my L'Arche friends.

1 comment:

  1. We are happy when you come to the community centre Maria, and you are right we are truly blessed as we can be(feel) "at home, with work".


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