There’s a difference between waking up in the morning by the sounds of boys and girls in the house, or when an earthquake throws you out of bed.
Italy was shaken
We did not feel the first earthquake, which occurred a week ago, as we were in the chapel at Mass at the time. However, we both felt strongly the second one, which happened on Sunday morning. The cabinets and the bed were shaking, we were on our feet faster than ever before.
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Thankfully, the earthquake has spared Rome, unfortunately, not the city of Norcia which is two hours away. There, houses, buildings and churches collapsed like a house of cards. At eight o’clock news the reports showed shocking images of people who lost their homes in a matter of minutes, some of them even lives.
It is known that Italy is highly seismic area, in particular area close to Lazio and Umbria, where we were staying at the beginning of our trip. Do you remember Perugia? Three earthquakes happened since then, when we were traveling around this town.
In God’s hands
Both, Silva and me pray for people who have lost everything and we are grateful to those who have accepted others under their roof. We are in the hands of God, and that can be shaky sometimes. Only God knows why, but the fact is:
In this world, everything goes, only God is not passing! We build and it crashes. We rebuild and it crashes again. One might think that our work is of no real importance. Why would we build, if all gets crashed? Does it all have any sense?
Any sense at all?
Perhaps the essence of our work is not in what we do or achieve (although it is always rewarding and inspiring to look at something the man himself created). What if the point is in the process itself?
While I am creating, I am cooperating with God. That gives me inspiration. While building, we are cooperating with others. We build relations and weave ties that can change hearts. We create, learn and grow. All that remains inside forever. This is something that no earthquake, no flood, no fire, no force in the world can destroy!
Boys and girls had to leave their house as well
Some boys and girls in the community experienced a certain kind of ‘earthquake’ a year ago, when as a result of financial distress, they needed to leave the ‘Il Chicco’ house and move into the ‘Ulivo’ house, where we currently dwell. Do you remember this post?
There are three Ark houses in which assistants live together with persons with mental disabilities. That time Fabio, Lucia and Maria had to move from a third house (Il Chicco) to the Ulivo house. Up until now we weren’t really aware of the fact that they are only guests in this house since their true home would be ‘Il Chicco’.
Back to home
The day finally come, when after a long time, they could return home. I already wrote about the fact that we, in addition to some other assistants, were responsible for the preparation and reparation of this house, where our six ‘refugees’ (three from the house La Vigna) could finally return to.
Ark would not be an Ark, if not ceasing this opportunity to prepare a special celebration. In fact, this is an important event for all, not only for those who will eventually return ‘home’.
Both houses La Vigna and L’Ulivo could significantly relax and relieve from now on. I must admit one could really feel croudy in the house, there was much work needed to be done and assistants were quite stressed.
Joy and happy faces
However, the effort that we put into preparing the house was well paid off by seeing the sparkles in the eyes of boys and girls.
Fabio had a shiny face all around. He stood at the door of the house and hugged each guest with a big smile on his face. Fabio does not speak and can not hear, but inside his heart he knows well, what it means to have your own home.
Everybody has a room
Others also became domesticated very quickly. When we entered the house, they were all more or less staying in their rooms – after such a long time.
Paolo, a boy with Down syndrome, was sitting in a chair in the bed and attentively absorbed his favorite music. He did not come out of his room even after the celebration began.
Maria has immediately started with her favorite activity – little secret visits to other’s room to hunt for different items which later become her toys.
House assistants can tell many funny stories about her ‘catches’. She visited our room quite frequently as well. I nearly managed to get a toothpaste cap and Silva’s comb out of her hands.
Nothing is perfect
Vittorio, a boy from La Vigna was also glad to see his room. He does not speak, but can say and express everything through his cute and funny shouts and gestures. Vitto is always very serious and attentive to every little thing that happens around him. He is a man of order and things must be kept in place.
When he entered his room, he immediately pointed to a potted plant, which has been moved slightly more to the left compared to a year ago. He immediately repaired the location. When he showed us his room, of course, he did not forget to point to a broken piece of wood on his cabinet door.
Joking a bit, but still serious, I assured him that I will report the matter to Marco; a responsible for the community. Then he calmed down. As he sat down on his bed, Silva and me both could observe a relaxed atmosphere and a precious smile, which is a rare thing to Vitto.
A little homesick
While watching the delight of boys and girls when they returned home, I reminded myself that me and Silva are staying away from our home for more than eight months. Yes, in those moments it was the first time for me ever-since to feel homesick.
Memories of the familiar, of close friends and of shelter. View of Kamnik Alps, walk along the Kranj and visit to parents and grandfather, everything that is close and dear to me.
However, our way is not nearly finished yet. Until March next year, when we will stop in Slovenia for a while, we are up to journey several cities and people. Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland…a long way to go still.
Sent from the comfort
God is working, right? Sometimes, He sends us away from our comfort zone, away from home, away from the familiar.
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Irrespective of whether the reason is an earthquake, a financial hardship or call of mission, He always has prepared something better or different for us. Something that we need, but perhaps are not even aware of.
But just as with the Israelis in the desert between Egypt and the Promised Land, He stands by and shows us the way to our true Home. Operando.