When I first moved to L’Arche Heartland, I had a pretty good idea that it wouldn’t be “just a job.” I knew that by virtue of living in the same house with the people I would be caring for that there would be little separation between what I considered my “work life” and “home life.” And that was true. Even when I was on my time away, with no work responsibilities, I still would see my housemates every day, and they’d have questions to ask or stories to tell. There would still be activities I’d participate in or meals to share. Just because I was “off” from work didn’t mean I was off from the relationships.
I think that I was pretty prepared for that. I had an idea that’s how life would be when I moved in. But what I wasn’t prepared for was just how important those relationships would become. I can’t really pinpoint an exact moment, but there was definitely a shift when I stopped doing it because I felt like I needed to, or didn’t have anything else to do, and started spending time with core members during my time away because I valued their friendship, and I wanted to spend time with them. Sunday lunches and trips to the library became a regular activity with a couple of the guys, even when I wasn’t working, and even after I moved to a different house, because I enjoyed being with them. Even now, as a Community Coordinator, when I have a more typical 9-5 work schedule, I will often participate in our Saturday activities, or spend time with core members outside of that schedule, because I value our time together and they have become important to me. They aren’t just people that I care for, or whose house I now coordinate, but they are my friends. It wasn’t something I was expecting when I first came to L’Arche Heartland, but it’s definitely something I love about my life in L’Arche.
-Mark Lepper, Community Coordinator