Hannah Robison has been a Live-Out Assistant at L’Arche Wavecrest for over three years. Read below as she shares her experience of building a meaningful friendship with Adam in community.
One Sunday I watched Adam walk into the kitchen, still waking from sleep. He pulled out a cup from the cabinet and proceeded to fill it from the refrigerator’s dispenser while offering me a deep groggy, but hearty, “Hello, my girl!”
I recently began spending time at our new home at L’Arche Wavecrest, and through the warm welcome of a new member, Adam, I am discovering the unique and intimate gift of someone taking unbridled delight in me. Adam won me over on my first day as he confided in me, “Hannah, I don’t want me to be the only one in the world with problems.”
“You are definitely not, Adam. Everyone has problems,” I reassured him.
“No! I am not!” he responded. And a moment later, he entered the room declaring emphatically and loudly, “Hannah, my mom tells me I am not the only one in the world with problems.”
In these unfiltered, honest expressions of his concerns I feel kinship with this man. Adam’s insistence on relationship and connection draw me out of myself and into the present. I confess there are times when I have pulled out my phone in the empty spaces between conversations and tasks only to hear, “Hey Hannah, I want to talk to you!” And as usual there is a delay between my hearing and my responding because of the screen, so I hear, “Hannah, Hannah, look at me! Look at me when I’m talking!” And as I look up, Adam makes a face: his hamster sniffing face. The significance of this goofy face is lost to me, but it brings Adam great amusement and so brings me amusement in return.
I believe assistants like myself have a responsibility to celebrate the gifts and worth of people with disabilities in our communities. But Adam has taught me that this responsibility is not a one way street. He reminds me weekly that despite my self-doubt and insecurity—despite how I may feel on any given day—I am a “good lady” as his face lights up when he sees me in the room. This transforming power of delight in one another flows from assistant to core member and core member to assistant. It transcends our differences. L’Arche is a place where our celebration of one another is mutual.
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