Linda Slinger opened a door into forgiveness for me.Within the first few months of my arrival at Daybreak in 1992, Linda offered me a place in her heart. It was not because I was someone special; it was simply Linda´s way with nearly everyone she met. She had a gift for welcoming people and helping them feel at home. The first time I met Linda, she looked at me and said, ¨You look tired. Go to bed.¨ So I did as she told me and discovered that she was right. I was tired but didn´t fully appreciate it. Linda viewed people with the eyes of her heart and often recognized hidden truths before the other person knew them.
It was also true that Linda was a very strong person. She knew herself. She knew what she wanted and how she felt. I am a person who likes to have things my way at times. One of these times, Linda´s strength and my desire to have things my way bumped into each other and we had an argument. I don´t remember what it was about, but we yelled at each other. Linda went to her room, slamming the door. I went down to the basement t.v. room and slammed the door.
While I was watching television, I took some pleasure in being resentful. I knew I was right. I had told Linda so. She was the one who couldn´t see things my way. I sat in front of the television enjoying my bitterness for a while.
Then a knock came on the door. Without opening it, Linda said, ¨Keith, it´s Linda. Can I come in?¨ I said, ¨Sure.¨ Linda came into the room, stood by the door and went on to say, ¨Keith, I´m sorry. Will you forgive me?¨
Asking for Linda´s forgiveness was the last thing I had in mind at that moment. Knocking on Linda´s door and apologizing did not even occur to me. I was stuck. I couldn´t move because of my bitterness. Why should I apologize? And yet, it was the very thing Linda knew she needed to do. Linda knew that things would not be made right between us until we came together and apologized to each other.
Linda opened a door into the ways of forgiveness. I began to see more clearly after Linda showed me how. Forgiveness is not easy. It takes a great deal of practice. I feel like I still have a long way to go, but thanks to Linda I am able to go through the door every now and then. The door which leads each one of us home.
– Keith Reynolds was an assistant at L’Arche Daybreak and remains a close friend of the community, most recently leading our Assistants Weekend in February 2014. Linda Slinger lived at L’Arche Daybreak for many years until she passed away a few years ago. She is remembered fondly by many people.