Before welcoming a new housemate into our homes, the core members and assistants of the home make a sign to put on their bedroom door. Everyone signs it and marks that room as their space. Although this may seem like a small tradition, its meaning is significant. These signs are the first welcome into the home and stay up to remind us that we are continually excited to welcome each other home.
From my first day, our core members accepted me into their home, eager to get to know me and teach me about themselves. Their vulnerability helped me to be vulnerable as well and made me feel comfortable to be myself. I was nervous coming into an environment unlike anything I had experienced before, but I was immediately shown support. I’ve faced some challenges since becoming an assistant and made plenty of mistakes. Through it all, the assistants and core members at Friendship House met me with grace and encouragement, guiding me through the rough patches. Our assistants continue to be great mentors and I appreciate their steady support.
Over the years, the core members of Friendship House have made it their home. Pieces of their personalities are seen in our common areas with Tim’s art being displayed, Elbert’s piano, and Chris’s safety checklist. The house dog, Allie, also brings life to Friendship House and wherever Elbert is, Allie is not far behind. The guys are the heart of their home and have cultivated an environment that allows them to feel comfortable and at peace.
L’Arche focuses on the balance between being and doing, highlighting the mundane parts of life as much as the exciting ones and in the few months I’ve spent sharing life, I’ve learned to lean into simplicity. Sitting with Elbert while he does his numbers or watching wrestling with the guys at the end of the day presents moments of rest, relief and connection that are deeply fulfilling. There is a unique contentment in sharing life that is truly felt when we keep our commitments to one another. We celebrate with each other in the highs and give our comfort in the lows. Whatever I give of myself I will get in return. Sharing life requires accountability, generosity, and understanding even when it’s not easy to do.
Overall, these last few months at Friendship House have been truly transformative. I have found comfort in knowing that I have support and reassurance from the people I share life with. Most of all, I am grateful to Tim, Chris, and Elbert for welcoming me into their home and for making it a place that I can now call home too.