In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of L’Arche Daybreak we are inviting contributions, stories and photos that illustrate the gifts of our community. Enjoy this post about Linda by her friend Beth Porter.
“When I came to L’Arche Daybreak in 1981, Linda Martin was still living at home with her parents. She was the girlfriend of Francis, one of the core members I lived with, and so our paths sometimes crossed. Linda and Francis came to know each other at the local sheltered workshop and in a Saturday bowling league. Linda was a pretty, young brunette, and Francis was already fifty and graying. However, their age difference did not seem to matter to them and, over the years, their friendship only grew stronger, even though neither seemed to consider marriage. After Francis passed away at 88, Linda declared that he was her “one true only forever boyfriend,” and that she was not going to have another boyfriend.
Linda is retired now and sometimes volunteers at the front desk in the L’Arche Daybreak office, helping Khalida with small tasks. But more important than the work she contributes is the love and enthusiasm she shares so generously. If I am lucky, Linda will be there when I drop in to pick up my mail, and she will give me her wonderfully boisterous greeting—“THERE’S MY GOOD BEAUTIFUL LOVEY-DOVEY GIRL, BETH!” And my spirit will soar.
I am certainly not the only woman who receives this gift. On another occasion it will be Kathy, or Trish, or Mary or someone else. Men are greeted similarly, “THERE’S MY FINE GOOD WONDERFUL MAN, JOE!” Or Jim or Warren or Carl. Then Linda may approach us with her big smile and ask us how we are, and often a little cluster of whoever is in the vicinity will gather to bathe in Linda’s warmth. And so she nourishes community for a few minutes right there in the office hallway.”
Contributed by Beth Porter*
*Beth’s book, Accidental Friends: Stories from my Life in Community, will be published this spring. Check www.novalis.ca, or in the UK, www.dltbooks.com.
Photo credit Toinette Parisio, L’Arche Ontario.
If you would like to submit your own post or story about L’Arche Daybreak please email Warren Pot at [email protected].