Sophie Horner, a 20 year old live-in assistant in Angel House, reflects on her time in community.
Sophie clearly comes to the table with insight and maturity that lifts up those around her. Sophie is originally from Germany. At her school there, between her time of apprenticeship as a carpenter and her last two years of classroom education, they required their students to work with people with disabilities. This beautiful concept has clearly manifested itself in Sophie’s life. Sophie, along with many of her classmates, lived and worked in L’Arche communities. Sophie’s time in L’Arche in Canada solidified her desire to spend more time in L’Arche after graduation.
Acceptance and love has defined Sophie’s time in community so far. There is an unconditional love here. You are not expected to be or do something special--you are enough. “Not only that,” Sophie goes on, “but as an assistant you are trusted to be with people in their most vulnerable and intimate moments, and that makes you feel so special!”
Most surprising for Sophie is just how normal life in community is. “Roommates are roommates.” How true it is! We all have things that we love and things that annoy us. We all have good days and bad days. And when you are just living life in community, problems don’t seem so big. As Sophie so eloquently put it, “You learn the difference between real problems and problems that you make.”
When reflecting on her favorite part of the day, Sophie describes the evenings after dinner, when housemates just sit together, and talk with each other. During this time, the simplicity of life together is what is celebrated and cherished. As our founder, Jean Vanier writes in his book Community and Growth, “True community implies a way of life, a way of living and seeing reality; it implies above all fidelity in the daily round. And this is made up of simple things - getting meals, using and washing dishes and using them again, going to meetings - as well as gift, joy and celebration; and it is made up of forgiving seventy times seventy-seven.” This is lived in the evenings after dinner, when Sophie and Angel House are simply...together.