Olivia’s Trip to the El Arca L’Arche Community
We are sharing this Spring 2012 post because our community is sending a package to the El Arca community this holiday season….
Olivia Chalifoux, an Irenicon assistant for the past 3 years, had the opportunity to spend three months with the El Arca (L’Arche) community in Mexico City. Olivia kept a blog of her daily life and reflections. We wanted to share a little of Olivia’s inspiring stay in Mexico.
“There are many people who can do big things, but there are very few people who will do the small things.” —Blessed Mother Teresa I came across this message in Mother Teresa’s book “In the Heart of the World” and it really spoke to me when thinking about L’Arche. I know every assistant at one time or another wonders if what we’re doing matters, if we’re really making a difference, if there isn’t something bigger we could be doing to make a bigger difference…perhaps so, but then who should do the small things?” As Jean Vanier has been quoted, “We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but ordinary things with extraordinary love.”
“I came to L’Arche a couple years ago saying that I had something to learn about love that I could only learn in L’Arche, and I think that’s finally coming into focus for me. My experiences here in Mexico are helping me to see more clearly my experiences back home, or maybe better to say see it all in a new way. I’m learning a lot about love…pushing Checo in his wheelchair, sitting with Cyntia, just being with her and letting her kiss me, having a heart-to-heart with Lupita, about being grateful for things in our lives, for our lives themselves, which in all likelihood reached my heart more than hers, pushing
Juana on the swing at the park, going with Tavo to buy bread for dinner, playing guitar for Pepe, etc…There is such simple joy in life here — why is that so hard to find at home? I suppose I know why, because life is complicated by many more responsibilities etc….but I think maybe if I can trust enough to love with greater openness and sincerity of heart, maybe I can create for myself a simpler life of love even at home.”
“Overall, I’m very thankful for the time I’ve had here, I’ll miss terribly the people I’ve come to love here. I love traveling and experiencing life in new cultures, but it sure isn’t easy leaving pieces of my heart all over the world I consider it an incredible blessing — and a burden of course, that seems to be the way blessings go — that God has given me so many people and places to love in the world!”