Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Match Made in...Community

It's Winter Carnival week here. "Frosty Frolic", we're calling it this year. It's a simple idea, really - set aside a week in the dead of winter to be silly and play in the snow. Put a little work into reminding one another that winter is more than just the inconvenience of shoveling and keeping track of 25 hats and 50 mittens. Winter can be fun!

And so it has been this week. We're just halfway through, but I can say in all honesty that wearing my pajamas to work, dressing up in a Newfoundland flag, and dancing to "Sudbury Saturday Night" in my oversize gold shirt and purple dollar store wig has been just what the doctor ordered. I can feel the good vibes seeping through my thick skin of impatience and discouragement and giving me a little spark of the all-too-elusive hope. Thank God for that.

There have been lots of little moments that have contributed to this mini-transformation. Jurgen carved a huge bench in the snow outside Asha House so folks would have a spot to sit at the opening bonfire and fireworks. Joan, Judy, and Bern were table-dancing at the Fire Hall, to gales of laughter and thunderous applause. David wore a Toronto Maple Leafs cheerleading outfit - complete with pleated skirt! - to work yesterday. When the opening notes of the Black Eyed Peas' "I Like To Move It" blasted from the speakers at the dance, Gordon's face lit up with a smile and he jumped across the floor exclaiming "Madagascar!". And the list goes on.

But the moment that moved me most was simple. If you weren't paying attention you could miss it. It was on the dance floor at the Frosty Frolic Ball, where everyone was all dressed up fancy (including me in the aforementioned gold ensemble). Coralee was out on the dance floor, wheelchair left in the dust, boogie-ing down holding the hands of a young German assistant for support. She looked young and hip - which she is - and happy. While I was watching her, Julian, a handsome young assistant in his second year with us at L'Arche, approached her with a smile. Any girl would be thrilled to have this guy seek them out on the dance floor. Julian, towering over Coralee, reached out his hand and asked her to dance. She turned her head up to say yes (duh!) and there was just this little moment that passed between them. It was as simple as a smile, but it was a smile that didn't come from the mouth, or even from the heart. It came from some other mysterious place where two people who shouldn't have even met manage to cross paths and share a life and find in the other something neither of them knew they needed. I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by how lucky each of them were, and how lucky I was to be a witness to their relationship.

Sometimes I take this life for granted. But sometimes something happens that reminds me of the gift of L'Arche. Julian and Coralee reminded me of that last night. Thanks.


Josie said...

Thanks for writing that article Jenn. It is beautiful, moving, and authenic.

Tanya said...

Amazing article! I wish I was there to see it, alas I was working. :(

j├╝rgen-rockt-cape-breton said...

That's a awesome article Jenn I really like it! And this week was just wonderful looking forward to have something like that again!