Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Spotlight on Solidarity: One Body, One Spirit


Spotlight on Solidarity: One Body, One Spirit
By: Amy Sapalio, Intern

“Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one spirit, and we all share the same spirit.” 

1 Corinthians 12:13
  
Pia, Carmen, and Marian

I followed Pia and Marian up the dimly lit stairwell to apartment 3B, the sounds of children yelling and someone’s blaring TV behind us. The heavy, metal door swung open, “My babies! I am so glad you are here! Come in, hold my hand. Come on girls,” exclaimed Carmen.  The Heart’s Home USA volunteers were ushered inside in a flurry of excitement as Carmen settled in for an afternoon of story-telling and fellowship.

Heart’s Home USA’s mission is to be present, be a companion and often times, to be silent. Volunteers in 20 different countries dedicate their time to forming personal relationships with the suffering and isolated in deprived areas, orphanages, jails, and nursing homes. The strength to share the hardships of the community’s neediest is found through an intensive commitment to prayer.  Volunteers come together in the morning and evening, relying on God to support them through their mission and calling to mind each of their friends, including Carmen.


I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with the Heart’s Home USA volunteers as they visited Carmen, learning what the mission of presence really means. Carmen told us stories about her respect for her mother, shared her favorite strawberry drink, and showed us the costumes she made for her dog, Mia. A woman so often labeled as “the poor,” a faceless number in a statistic, blossomed before us. Carmen became a seamstress, a mother, a daughter, a wonderful cook, and a hopeful foster mother to be. Most importantly, Carmen became a friend. A bond was formed in common interest, in familiar feelings of joy, fear, and excitement, and in the presence of the one Holy Spirit. 

Being in solidarity with Carmen in its purest sense was deeply impactful to both Carmen and the Heart’s Home USA Volunteers. For Carmen, life became valuable again. Pain and weariness were replaced by an energy and excitement to share her days with her friends. The volunteers, too, were built up as they learned about life and love from their afternoon visits with Carmen.  

That small living room became a sanctuary. The presence of God was tangible as I watched the barrier of “we” serving “them” collapse. As one in the Spirit, there was no poor, nor volunteer, nor giver, nor taker. This was the epitome of being the hands and feet of Christ for one another. The line between the server and the served vanished as we marched hand-in-hand to the foot of the Cross.  I saw God in Carmen’s living room, with the deepest and widest, most intense kind of love. Amen, Amen, Amen.

“Love is a fruit in season at all times and within reach of every hand.”-Mother Teresa