This past Friday, I had the privilege of visiting a L'Arche home in the Mobile, Alabama area. This home is one of five homes at Mobile L'Arche, each one a home for people with mild to severe mental and physical disabilities. At the home I visited, there live five people with severe mental and physical disabilities and four team members (assistants).
One thing that immediately struck me is the different sense of time that exists in L'Arche homes. The pace of time follows the needs and relationships among those living there. It may take a hour to give a bath to one of the home core members. It may take an hour and a half for one of the core members to eat dinner. Time serves the person, not the person time. This is very different than the way the world sees time.
For Vanier, and the communities he envisioned, God takes all the time in the world for those whom the world has no time. There is no rush to God's time. It is not only patient, but revels in each relational moment. It is not a commodity to be spent. Vanier wrote, “The friend of time doesn’t spend all day saying: ‘I haven’t got time.’ He doesn’t fight with time. He accepts it and cherishes it.”
As Stanley Hauerwas puts it, God "takes time for the trivial." In the kingdom of God, there are no lives more or less deserving of attention and time. There is no hectic frenzy in God's time. There is no anxiety about "getting things done." There is simple, loving, eternal presence. Seeing time in this way leads to a sense of belonging and the formation of community.
I think this is one of the points of Jesus' instruction: do not worry about tomorrow, what you will eat or drink, or with what you will be clothed. Focus on the moment.
“The longer we journey on the road to inner healing and wholeness, the more the sense of belonging grows and deepens. The sense is not just one of belonging to others and to a community. It is a sense of belonging to the universe, to the earth, to the air, to the water, to everything that lives, to all humanity.”