This week I toured a new residency for a nonprofit whose mission is to provide homeless women and men with mental health challenges a hope for the future. Second Heart Homes is the name of this Sarasota-based nonprofit.
The facility my colleague and I toured-the first residence in their program designed for women-just opened in December. At the moment, three clients are in the program; the facility will eventually be prepared to house 12 women.
My first visit in one of Second Heart’s Homes was in the fall of 2020. I revisit that first tour every time I enter a new residence. Each visit in each residence breathes new life into everyone in the room. Why? Because their is love and hope in each heart and smiles on each face.
Yet, the reality remains that behind that smile is a heart and mind with wounds waiting to be healed. Steps have been taken to start the healing, but the journey has just begun.
This hit home as I heard a simple illustration about one of the new clients in the women’s facility. Although she’s been there for several weeks…although she was friends with one of the other women before moving in…although she no longer has to rely on the Salvation Army for shelter each night, she has to have lights on and her purse is under her pillow while she sleeps.
Take a moment. Imagine what’s behind these necessities.
The image of a purse under a pillow stuck with me. Many thoughts went through my mind, so many to chew on. The one that I most appreciated was this: Thank God someone got in the ditch for this lady.
True empathy cares about not just providing a pillow but what it might be used to protect. True empathy gets in the ditch.