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Make Gentle Music

Man playing a guitar

I want to hide away from the noise.  Trump projected to win here and to lose there… Biden campaign expects a win here and a loss there…  Winning, losing, winning, losing; the sound of these words rings in me like the leitmotiv of a symphony of competition, battle and opposition, defeat and victory.  At the end of this week, I want to shut down against what feels like marching music laced with cannon fire.

Is this election, is this season of our lives really about winning and losing?  In a country that divided, that stuck in the trenches of “we” and “them,” can anybody truly win?  Has there ever been a win for anybody when that win was unbearable for others?

In L’Arche, we seek to nurture belonging and love.  Houses and day programs are the tangible signs of community.  Relationships offer comfort.  Celebrations offer fellowship.  Prayer and meditation offer rootedness.  As the articles in this edition of Hope Signs show, we seek to offer one another nothing else than the experience of home.

Let’s not fool ourselves, and please allow me to be explicit: the people who make home in and with L’Arche are Republicans, Democrats and independents, city-dwellers and rural natives, viewers of Fox News and CNN, Black Lives Matter protesters and police officers, pro-life Catholics and Planned Parenthood donors, and so much more.  L’Arche is not apart but part of this nation, so fractured by a pandemic, by systemic racism, by political and economic insecurity, by generational disenfranchisement, by too much speaking and not enough listening… the list is long.

L’Arche has no magic recipe for living peaceful relationships across differences. We are a humble part of this polarized country.  It often crunches mightily in our communities.  But we are committed to trying, again and again, every day.  We try because of a very simple belief: whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, now celebrating or really disappointed, you are a human being who longs to love and be loved.  Whether you voted blue or red or not at all, there is a place of belonging for you.  At L’Arche, we call that place community; we call that place home.

At the end of this week, my being resonates with the gentle melody of love, belonging, and home.  There is hope in that music, not only for myself and for L’Arche, but also for this nation.  If you lean in, you can hear that music against the noise.  More so, you can join the L’Arche orchestra and help us make gentle music for this nation.  If you join, I’d love you to turn up the volume.

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