Living Life with Friends

A snapshot of a L'Arche community

Living Life with Friends

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Jeff sat at the end of a large table in the Peace House kitchen. He didn’t say a lot. In fact, he said nothing at all. But he laughed and made our visitors feel welcome by playing the harmonica and showing them his colorful, abstract artwork. Now in his fifties, Jeff is a cornerstone of the L’Arche community in Jacksonville, Florida. He has lived here since 1990, and he has Down syndrome.

p>I met Jeff last year, when I moved into Peace House after graduating from university. My older brother had spent a few months volunteering at the original L’Arche community in Trosly-Breuil, France. I was touched by his description of being both emptied and filled as he learned to love and serve people with intellectual disabilities. When I visited a L’Arche community near me, though, I just couldn’t see myself being able to live that kind of life. However, as time wore on and God “wore” on me, I decided to commit to a year as a L’Arche volunteer.

Friends along the Way. Moving into my new home in Jacksonville was a big step for me. I don’t generally get excited about trying new things, and I was pretty nervous. But Jeff, along with the other Peace House residents, put me…

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