L'Arche and the winds of change
When a tornado strikes, it is good to have something really solid to hang on to. In L’Arche, we discover, often to our surprise, that some of our most solid anchor points are also the most invisible: the ties that bind us together, our relationships across many kinds of difference.
These days, many countries in Europe, as well as the U.S., do seem to be in the path of a tornado of change. These huge changes are accompanied by deep division. As Tina Bovermann, Leader of L'Arche USA, writes:
“today is not business as usual. People here in the U.S. and elsewhere are trying to make sense of this election season. Fortunately, L’Arche in the U.S. counts many Democrats and Republicans and regardless of whether we are pleased or not with the outcome of this election, we all are trying to come to terms with the many things that this election has exposed. If we truly believe in our mission of relationships, hope and unity across difference, maybe today more than ever, do we reach out to those who feel most marginalized today? Are we listening? And if so, what are we learning?”
Whatever our politics, it is pretty much anyone’s guess where we will end up. How will this tornado affect the most vulnerable people in our societies, or L'Arche itself? It is too early to say. And that ‘not-knowing’ is just one aspect of our powerlessness in front of these great winds of change. So much seems beyond our control. And yet, one thing we learn in L'Arche is that appearances can be deceptive. Perhaps in this case, too…
At a time like this, it is good to remember that hanging in there together is what we do best. For when we do that, no tornado, however powerful, can stop L’Arche from being, in Tina’s words, “sacred, mysterious, imperfect, messy, fragile, strong and authentic spaces of wonder and peace.”