Building With Discarded Stones
Timothy Stephen Buckley
Xlibris Corp (2021)
Reviewed by Lily Andrews for Reader Views (01/2022)
“Building With Discarded Stones” is a profound and illuminating text by the author of “As You Love Your Self,” Timothy Stephen Buckley. The book focuses on Buckley’s experiences and the lessons he learned at L’arche and Faith and Light, two private voluntary organizations where people with intellectual disabilities find friendship and belonging.
In this Christian memoir, Buckley shares that he did not always have a calling to do volunteer work. Earlier on, he had joined an archdiocese seminary in Milwaukee but later left upon realizing that his vocation in life was not the priesthood. In 1971, at a time when the Vietnam War was ongoing, Buckley felt the need to serve his country by enlisting in the war but later changed his mind because of his Catholic social teachings.
After months of pondering over what type of volunteer work he could do, he joined a day program for children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities and consequently committed to the L’arche and Faith and Light communities. Author Buckley shares stories with readers of his time as a caregiver to these special groups. He endearingly goes further and dedicates most of the chapters to some of the members in these organizations, describing their beginnings, temperament, untapped abilities, and how each learned to cope in their new surroundings.
Buckley admits that it was challenging for him at the beginning but with time, he learned something of the experiences, fears, and dreams that shaped their behaviors, which made him better able to positively motivate them and to help them make better choices for themselves. As for the lessons he learned, he cites an example where he was asked to be a caregiver to Nathan, an extremely sensitive but lovable man, and though hesitant, he learned a couple of lessons from him during the time they spent together. These include the value of reverence and how important it is not to take personal, sacred, and intimate moments for granted.
I enjoyed reading this book. It sheds a light on the gifts and abilities of this group that is usually seen as deficient or burdensome. He implores every reader to realize that from God’s perspective, every human being is sacred, precious, and of infinite value. Blending his experiences with Christian faith and themes, the text asserts that a warm, accepting, and reassuring attitude will help these innocent souls feel more relaxed.
Buckley’s tone is encouraging and hopeful and writes with great precision. I give the book 5 stars as he handles the subject matter warmly and his accessible choice of language will appeal to a wide group of readers. In my opinion, “Building With Discarded Stones: Spiritual Lessons and Discoveries Through L’arche and Faith and Light” is a wonderful book worth getting your hands on!