Daily Thoughts from Jean Vanier - 9/24/09

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Telephone Chat

I am visiting my friends in the La Boise foyer at L’Arche Gatineau. A new man, Phillipe, has arrived since my last visit. I am introduced and he proffers his hand with a serious demeanor and no words. At dinner he says nothing. Indeed, as the meal progresses I begin to wonder if he can talk, even though his physical response of passing requested items indicates that he can hear and understand. I start to imagine a severe speech impediment. After dinner, as usual, each person attends to their assigned clean-up tasks. Phillippe silently fills the sink and begins rinsing the dishes for Lise to place in the dishwasher. He does a good job. Then he moves on to washing the pots. I join Cecile to help dry and we talk about this and that. Still no words from Phillippe. He concludes the washing up, drains the sink, and then slips out into the hallway. I hear a voice a few moments later. Phillippe has his right hand positioned as a phone against his ear and in front of his mouth. He is giving the "hearer" a full account of the meal and his washing up, clearly with no trouble articulating what he has to say.

Beth Porter, L’Arche Canada



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