Love, Inner Peace, and the L’Arche Family – Clinton, Iowa

I may be an English major, but I love music. I have been singing since I was nine years old, and stopped singing outside of my personal life when I was a sophomore here at Creighton. My boyfriend and friends, however, can tell you that I don’t cook a meal with out bursting into song half way through. I sing my way through long drives, and belt arias to my homework.

L’Arche gave me the opportunity to use my gift of song, performance art, and baking to bring people together. I discovered my skill in making the boring fun by adding my own performance to it. I found myself filled with song in a way I have never felt before. I got a small taste of what it must be like to be a Disney Princess in Disney World because each smile was payment and benefit enough for me.

All the members of our very small group alternated which of the three homes or “Arches” we would spend our evenings with. We would go there to “Share Life” which literally was as simple as it sounds. We would help cook dinner, and we would play games with and entertain the “Core Members.” Core Members are the adults with disabilities that live in the Arches. I sang, danced, and made hot chocolate. I found a home there, and I embraced the parts of myself that I had not learned to before. I discovered that there was an ease in embracing the parts of yourself that the world tells you are too broken and bent to find a home. I discovered that much of our society looks at each person and reminds them that they will never truly find a place to fit in or belong. However, L’Arche intentionally challenges the American idea that you have to act, behave, and function a certain way to be worth something. The value people have at L’Arche, be they Core Members or Assistants alike, is that we all are human beings who feel, who fail, and who get back up again. We all have our anger be it righteous or not, and we all have our sadness whether or not it is justified. In those moments, we embrace our community and we cling to it. We also learn from our mistakes, and grow in them. In the same way, L’Arche embraces happiness and grows the gifts and talents that everyone who opens themselves to the L’Arche experience can gain and access.

My single moment of singing “Let it Go” for a Core Member made me realize that I too stereotype and berate myself for things that are out of my control. L’Arche taught me how to accept myself for the parts of myself I try to erase, and that has truly made all of the difference.

Shannon Fuller
Class of 2017