Friday, January 2, 2015

Daily lessons

I'm not sure what my deal is today. Despite nothing going wrong, I've had a bit of a short temper and I've been kind of snippy with people. I even called someone a mean name in the parking lot of our local grocery store. I was in our minivan by myself with the windows rolled up, so I'm sure they didn't hear me. But still, I'm generally not the kind of guy to call people names!

This morning, when I was helping one of the core members in my home get dressed, I noticed that he had taken the pair of jeans he wore the day before and put them back on a hanger and hung them on his closet door. I'm ok with wearing jeans more than once, but not if they have stains from dinner the night before on them. This is not the first time he has placed a dirty article of clothing back in the drawer or in the closet, and we've been encouraging him to remember to put dirty clothes in his hamper.

This morning, for some reason, this dirty pair of jeans was enough to irk me and so I kept repeatedly asking him where dirty clothes go, to which he'd reply, "The hamper." And I'd ask again, and he'd give me the same response. "Then why don't you put them there?!?" I snapped. Then I put the clean clothes we had chosen on his bed so he could change and stomped back upstairs.

On our way to work, this particular core member was in the backseat of the van. I had not been the most pleasant with him for most of the morning. As we were waiting at a stoplight I heard him speak up from his seat. "Hey Mark," he said. "Yes?" I asked. "I love you, Mark!" He replied with a big, beaming smile.

Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche, has said that L'Arche is a school of the heart. It is through our relationships with the core members that our hearts are opened and we grow in compassion and kindness and love. Today, while I was sitting in the driver seat being all grumpy, I think I received a lesson from one of my unlikely teachers in this school of the heart about unconditional love and forgiveness.

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