How do you know when you’re home?
By Ryan Koch, Program Manager
How do you know when you’re home? And how do you know when you are at work?
These questions have been bubbling up for me since I started working at shelter. Learning this job is like learning a language. It is humbling, a little overwhelming. I am not yet conversant. I have lots to learn, and even more to unlearn. I hardly know how to describe the spirit of this place. One linguistic shortcut is to say that I work in a place that is the home of our residents.
And I thought that and said it quite a few times before I saw it animated.
One resident recently had some special guests. I did not know this resident’s name, or her story, but when I observed her kind young guests and how they were thrilled to be with her, I knew what was going on. Then, as she pulled together a meal for them, as she doted on them, my theory was confirmed: this woman was hosting her grandchildren.
It was an archetypal expression of love made possible by the existence of a home. Something utterly timeless and loving was underway. Surely this woman who was offering welcome was doing so in her home.
So much about this place looks familiar: meals; laundry; children; chores; laughter. And when this home is a place of hospitality, when it feels safe, nurturing and open, residents can heal and grow. They can access their inner wholeness.
Or as John O’Donohue says: “When one is at home in oneself, one is integrated and enjoys a sense of balance and poise. In a sense that is exactly what spirituality is: the art of homecoming.”