A hole lies exposed where there once used to be a window. Inside are strewn blankets, empty cans and markings on the wall that indicate this “home” has been claimed. In a nearby hospital, people are being taken through the Emergency Department door, uncertain of their diagnosis and feeling some anxiety about their future. And at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate, a novice visiting from another congregation is welcomed to what will be her new “home” for a few weeks.
As I reflect back on the examples that have been shown to me of what it means to be “home”, no longer are those who are homeless limited to those who must survive on the street. No, they have become for me anyone who must “pick up their mat and walk”. Where they lay their head one day may not be where they are being called to place it the next. Like the paralytic person, we are being invited by Jesus to try something new, be open to a new way of living and not to close the door on the gifts that await us.
During these last few weeks, we have been blessed with the presence of Mary Therese Perez, a second year Dominican Novice from Mission San Jose. At this time, her congregation is not a part of the Collaborative Novitiate. After meeting Mary in October, during the Young Dominican Conference at Mission San Jose, her congregation asked us if Mary could come visit for a couple of weeks, but it is we who have been blessed. We have been changed.
We have learned through Mary that when we open ourselves up, risk the journey into the unknown, we come out stronger than we first began. Home is more than shelter. To me, home is where we can lay our head in trust, resting in the belief that where we are provides food for our journey. What “food” we receive, through the support of new friends, a dry place out from the cold, a new diagnosis that reminds us our bodies have changed, are gifts that feed the soul and give us strength to face tomorrow.