In that moment David helped me to discover what was hidden in my heart – that I really wanted to stay. I had forgotten in all the busyness of community life and making plans for the future why I had come in the first place. David took the risk to be vulnerable and say that it made a difference to him whether I stayed or left and he reminded me that our relationship meant something to both of us. I’ve kept this picture with me for 43 years. It’s like a compass. I can always take it out and find true north again – to be in touch with my call, my desire to be faithful to my relationships.”
Joe continued, “I think what’s really important is that we discover who we are committed to and what we’re committed to because that is the only thing that gives us the passion and energy to live community well. It’s so much easier being against something than for something. Who are we really committed to and what are we really committed to?
Faithful friendships touch what is deeply human in all of us – a desire to belong and be accepted as we really are and discover and share our gifts with each other. To know that I am not always on the receiving end of life but on the giving side of life, that I can make a contribution to someone else’s life, I can have an impact on someone else’s life.
There is one question that each one of us carries in our heart our whole lives, and it’s this: “Am I loveable as I really am?” A faithful friendship is a wonderful response to this question. Of course, we do not live just for ourselves. We live our friendships so they can be a sign of hope. There is so much breakage in our world. Who is risking to be vulnerable, to show up and be seen “as I really am” and to make that choice of faithfulness. It’s an extraordinary choice, and it’s a choice for life. How are you being called to be faithful to your friendships today?”
Joe Egan is a member of L’Arche Toronto, former Daybreak community leader and former L’Arche International and L’Arche Canada Vice-Coordinator
David Harman is a member of L’Arche Daybreak. He has lived in L’Arche since 1969 – the longest time of anyone in North America.
Thanks to Beth Porter, L’Arche member for editing the original talk into an article.