I would be lying if I said I was sad that this week is coming to an end. The past 7 days have been dramatic to say the least. This week has been filled with a trip to the ER, heartbreak, and tragedy. There have been many smiles in the past week but there have also been lots of tears.
My heart is broken for Morgan and her family. She had to leave in the middle of the night to get home for a family emergency. I don’t know how a family can recover after such a tragedy but I pray that they will heal and that they feel the love of their community.
My immune system decided to have a meltdown last week in a response to 52 mosquito bites and different pollens in this environment. After 4 hours in the ER I returned to concerned assistants and core members. I was exhausted but to see such care and concern in people after only being here is absolutely incredible.
A few days later I had a conversation with the volunteer coordinator (and translator) about how I was doing. They were concerned about my health and I told them that this sort of thing is pretty normal for me, that my body rebels sometimes. I explained that I was still fatigued but happy to be here and continuing on with the tasks I have been assigned. I explained that I was embarrassed about having to be driven to the hospital and to make people go out of their way to make sure I was alright.
They explained to me that to share our deepest insecurities and troubles with another is to enter into a sort of intimacy with them. They explained to me that L’Arche is about sharing in each other’s weaknesses. It’s about getting rid of the shame that is associated with imperfections. They welcomed me because of my crazy body and told me that I don’t have to smile and pretend everything is okay if it isn’t, that I won’t be inconveniencing anybody if I ask for help. It doesn’t matter that sometimes I feel like I’m living in the body of an 80 year old, what matters is that I bring those experiences to the table and share them with this community I am now a part of.
When Morgan left I was sad for her. I was sad that she did not get to continue this journey in the L’Arche community just when we got everything figured out. I am heartbroken today in hearing the news of the death of her niece. I was not myself today and the core members could tell. A few of them asked if I was sad and I told them yes and I have received countless hugs and smiles. And in the past few days, the number of times they have asked about Morgan and her family is truly heartwarming. This is a community that has welcomed us, embraced us, and is loving us. We remember Morgan and her family each morning and night in prayer and I ask all of you reading this to please do the same.
So yes, I am happy that this week has come to an end, even though I am one week closer to leaving a place that I can call home. One core member was leaving today for vacation and she won’t be back until after I leave. We gave each other at least 15 hugs and if this is how it feels to say goodbye to someone I’ve only known for 2 weeks, I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when I leave in less than a month. I have never experienced more love through tears and smiles than I have in the past 7 days and I am filled with joy amidst the sadness.