A L'Arche home is a pretty simple place. A group of people - some with disabilities, some without - choosing to live together. They go to work, cook together, clean the house, visit loved ones, make plans, live as a family. Simple.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time in a L'Arche home - or with a family, for that matter - might protest. "Simple? No way. The house is bustling, there are guests at dinner tonight, six different opinions on what we should cook, and have you SEEN the piles of clothing in the laundry room?"
True - but that's not what we mean. Life in L'Arche is simple, but not easy. If it were easy, little effort would be required. On the contrary, living in a community asks a lot of a person. It's simple because we understand why.
Our charter directs L'Arche communities to "have a simple lifestyle, which gives priority to relationships." This value is clearly expressed in our logo. A small vessel, unremarkable, filled with three folks of equal dignity and value. Notice how the people lean in to one another. They know they are stronger together. They trust one another and this certainty is grounding. Each person matters - you matter.
This month's Prayer Night called us to reflect on simplicity. Each person shared ways that they have practiced a simple lifestyle over the past pandemic year and we copied them onto the simple L'Arche boat below. It strikes me that you'll find all of these practices in L'Arche. It's a place where we accept others as they are, express gratitude, and live with intention.
So yes, life in L'Arche is not easy. Truthfully, the laundry room will probably overflow about once a week. In a community rooted in relationships, though, there are always hands to help you fold.
-- Megan Guzman