Mallory Koch has been a member of L’Arche Jacksonville for over three years. Her kindness, creativity, and compassion is such a gift to community life.
“Hey Jeff, can I read to you?” I ask, sitting on Jeff’s bed as he sits across from me with his feet up in his recliner. A comfortable silence mixed with an occasional giggle had been floating ever so peacefully between us.
He gently responds, “Yeah.”
“Chronicles of Narnia or Wizard of Oz?” I ask while greeting him with a soft smile.
He answers back quickly with the same grin on his face, “Wizard of Oz.”
After finding the picture book I start at the beginning, hoping that I could get into character. We read through the pages letting our imaginations soar with the tornado, the yellow brick road, and the munchkins. As minutes fly by we’re slowly being introduced to the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. We’re about half way through when I realize it’s getting late and Jeff should probably start heading to bed. I mention this to him, and he continues to point at the book, meeting me with a look to match that’s says, “What are you doing? Keep going. Keep reading.”
We continue to dive deeper into the story, but when we get to a good stopping point, I offer a close and invite him to brush his teeth. Jeff and I attend to his bedtime routine. We make faces in the mirror and laugh like we always do, singing and dancing all while brushing teeth. Sharing this routine, yet entirely special moment—a moment between good friends.
Sometimes reading, sitting, doing word searches, or simply being in the same room is a gift. Sharing these everyday moments is a gift. After reflecting on this evening with Jeff, I realized I have often found myself hoping for the same things that the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion hope for in their story. And within the moments like this one with Jeff, I am reminded that my friends here in L’Arche are the ones who are continuously gifting me those things: a brain, a heart, and courage.
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