From Doing to Becoming
by Bill Hoskyn, former assistant
I am a brown-nosing overachiever. In school I worked very, very hard to get good grades and to build up my resume with lots of extracurricular activities. This pattern continued in college—sleep was for suckers!—and then even in L’Arche: I spent many hours reformatting Negotiated Care Plans so that the font, margins, and bullet size were consistent throughout. All of this overly ambitious perfectionism shows that I am a do-er: I define my self-worth by the things that I do. Consequently, I thought (and part of me still thinks) that I am loved for my achievements.
But anyone who has lived in L’Arche knows that’s not true. I attended a conference at Duke University during my long road trip from Tacoma to my mom’s house in Atlanta where Jean Vanier was one of the speakers. He said that in community, we undergo a change from doing to becoming. We recognize that we are God’s beloved no matter what, which is the first step of becoming whole and holy children of God. In L’Arche, Bobby guided me through this transformation. Out of everyone I know, Bobby is the best at loving unconditionally. He is pure love. It does not matter what you do or do not do for him. He loves without “if”s or “unless”es, and he shows it with a smile, a laugh, or a finger exploration of your face. He taught me that we are loved because we are loved because we are loved. There is no reason why.
It’s been difficult transitioning out of L’Arche. I feel guilty for leaving the community, but someone told me that I can honor the core members by living out what they have taught me, and one of those lessons is the fact that everyone is God’s beloved, warts and all. My mission is to love myself and to love others without conditions, limitations, or expectations, just as the core members loved me. Of course this is a life lesson, but L’Arche has provided an excellent foundation for this lifelong pursuit.