The Charter of Communities of L’Arche states, “Home life is at the heart of a L'Arche Community. The different members of a community are called to be one body. They live, work, pray and celebrate together, sharing their joys and their suffering and forgiving each other, as in a family. They have a simple life-style, which gives priority to relationships.”
Each home looks a little different. Because of the unique gifts of each person, the ways that people live together and celebrate each other are unique to each home. When Tim talks about what this “home life” looks like in Friendship House, he describes it as people “coming together as family.” Games (pool) are played together and trips (to the store, to the lake, to the Avenue) are taken together. When a bad day is had, you talk it out. According to Tim, the kindest and most affirming food critic in the world, what makes a good dinner is the talking and the chance to be together.
L’Arche life is centered around the dinner table. L’Arche International founder, Jean Vanier talks about how it can feel that in L’Arche, half the day can be spent preparing for the meal and the other half of the day is spent cleaning it up! There are very few ways that members of a home can more intentionally show each other how they care, than through food. Think about how many times in your own life, you show love by preparing the favorite meal, or making sure that the pantry is stocked with the favored snack food, of the person you love. In a L’Arche home, where people vary in age, in background, in culture, in language even...food is the transcendent love language.
And very few people live this more intentionally than Tim. In response to the question, “How do you take care of your housemates?”, Tim replied quite simply, “I make sure that the coffee is made.” We speak often in L’Arche about finding God, and Love, in the “daily”. What is more daily than the coffee in the pot? And when do you feel more loved than coming down in the morning to a fresh pot of coffee made for YOU, because YOU are important to the coffee-maker? This lifestyle that we share in L’Arche is simple and gives priority to relationships, as stated in the Charter. And joys and sufferings are shared together, over a cup of coffee.