It has been too long since I have written. For this, I apologize. This is due to the fact that my personal life has been more hectic than ever before. Suffice it to say that a cross-country move, three local moves and having a baby in the last year have taken a toll. If tolls can be good and bad, then and only then, is that an apt metaphor.
This time around Warm Hearth has been one of the constants in my life and it has been a joy to watch the way that life there has found its rhythm. I am in awe of the way the staff members are creating a beautiful home life with the residents, not for the residents. It is a joint effort and a creative act, as any one who has tried their hand at “home life” knows. It is full of making art and making meals, cultivating the soil of our garden, growing flowers, sharing songs, having visitors, sharing our vision, reaching out for strength and reaching in.
As Warm Hearth becomes a place with roots in the community and on that little plot of land in 3rd Village, I have to hope that this is transforming for our residents. Having uprooted myself this past year, I have thought much about the need we as humans have for roots, and how little our residents have known what I have known in my life, to say the least. It is hard to believe that this home we have started on their behalf will be theirs, we pray, lifelong.
Anything lifelong is rare especially in the world of group homes and for individuals with disabilities and mental illness, – in our country and none less in Armenia. Heck, anything lifelong is rare no matter who you are or where you live. And it is not easy to make the lifelong happen. In some ways it is silly to even claim it as one’s vision, but we do.
Our Anna, who had been home and well for a year (after a long stay in a clinic), is now in a short-term clinic yet again. And we are trying to figure out how to care for her, how to make this home hers. The same goes for Sassoon. Most of you know these stories. They are stories that continue, that circle around, that leave us joyful and sorrowful both, time and again. This is an unwieldy life we live. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that.
I’m heading back to Armenia in August. Erik, our friend who came to the home last year and one with a wealth of experience in group homes is coming as well to aid our staff, to consider with us, to sit with us in these struggles. We are grateful for him. This time I’ll also be bringing my husband and baby. It will be their first time to Warm Hearth and I look forward to watching our little family be folded into my family there, to those brief weeks where my two families are one. Some of my roots are there, in 3rd Village, as unlikely as that seems.
Sometimes the surprises of life are our richest portions, combining the bitter with the sweet.
Thank you for listening, for walking with us on what often seems like a circular journey. May you know you are a part of all of this. And may you be well as you journey in your own homes.