The day is coming to a close, and I slowed to the thoughts below, and thought I might take the time to share them with you, you who have safeguarded & cared so deeply for Warm Hearth....
We prefer to endure any agony of isolation rather than to merge and extinguish our selves in an abstract "humanity" whose fate we should hold dearer than our own. (Annie Dillard, For the Time Being)
Warm Hearth renovations are almost complete – and they will allow for us to invite 8-10 people home. To invite people home, to have created a home for them, this is going to be such a great joy.
It also marks a new chapter for us. We have never "selected" residents for our home because of the grassroots nature of our beginning. We knew our first group of residents intimately – they were and are the reason we started Warm Hearth. So, as we think about beckoning new residents into our home, into our lives and hearts, we pause and realize the weightiness and joy of the decision.
When we think about accepting some residents, we also have to think about excluding others – and then the need for places like Warm Hearth becomes painfully evident. And it gives me a renewed vigor to keep moving forward, to keep taking steps toward sustainability and a societal movement away from unnecessary institutionalization.
Perhaps it is equally important for us to take a deep breath and realize that we are doing what we can. And change happens one step at a time.
Warm Hearth has always asked much of us – it has asked for courage. It has asked for hope. It has asked for us to slow down at times, and to speed up. It has asked us to try and try again. It has asked us to make decisions without knowing all that we might expect to know in the face of such a decision. It has asked us to love, to forgive, to be gracious. It is, after all, a very human place.
At this very moment, I think it is asking us to look with great tenderness at the vast need that we will soon face as we look for our new residents. It is asking that we see all of these individuals, who experience the poverty of being unloved, as perfectly human, as part of us.
And so, to deny one of them a home, which will be a necessity because we don't have the space, is to deny a part of ourselves a home.
May we see our connection to one another this clearly – though it is hard, for I am not sure there is another way to finding hope & healing – someday healing.
Natalie Bryant Rizzieri