Still mulling over a letter I got from a nun here in Portland. She operates two houses in the city for people with various developmental disabilities. She works all the time, takes care of 10 human lives and a whole staff of employees and part-time, now-and-then volunteers like me. She’s something fierce too; the kind of woman who would stare down a heavy-weight boxer without a trace of fear. Sister Susan owns.
In a kind of general mass e-mailing she used her last paragraph to address one of the principles of L’Arche, the program these houses subsist on. People will act surprised to see residents in the L’Arche community so happy and well-adjusted. That’s should not be surprising. They should be happy and well-adapted. The problem is that we’re so pessimistic about the developmentally disabled that we struggle to even visualize how their lives can seem good and purposeful. There is a problem, not only with these disabilities, but with a society that is incapable as a whole of knowing how to include them fully into the body of our being.