As a visitor and I were walking through the House last week, we met a man and woman in the kitchen. When I asked about the circumstances that brought them here, the man pointed to the woman (who was unrelated to him) and said, “We’re both in the same leaking boat!” While attempting to be light-hearted, he went on to explain that this was his daughter’s second trip here from New York—and they anticipated another lengthy stay.
As we got out of earshot, my guest asked, “Does it ever get to you?”
The question caught me off guard. Well into my fourteenth year here, I’ve rarely been discouraged. On the contrary—and despite occasional heartbreaks—what I ultimately get is hope.
By contrast, I shared my experience two nights earlier at the Starlight Parade. On the Parr Lumber-RMHC float, I was joined by several enthusiastic volunteers and two past guests: a 13-year-old boy (who I’ve known his entire life) and a 19-year-old girl (who returned here for college 18 months after completing treatment). The two (and their families) persevered despite considerable obstacles; they’re now enjoying healthy, happy lives. Both return frequently to volunteer.
Certainly, I said to my visitor, there are trials. And tears are plentiful. But the prevailing force—as illustrated by both past and present guests—is triumph.
Coming to that awareness takes more than a single encounter. So I hope my visitor returns—and like hundreds of others whose devotion contributes to an environment of triumph, I also hope he gets involved. Because triumph is an outcome we like to share.
Tom Soma, Executive Director