I was especially grateful to the Army Of Good today when I went to the Danforth Adult Day Care Center to visit the Mansion “refugees,” abruptly evacuated from their lives last week and waiting in limbo for the state bureaucracy to let them come home.
Each day, and because of your generosity, I’ve brought a different thing to the chapel in the Danforth, which is where the Mansion residents go to gather every day and eat their meals. On the first day, I brought flowers and stuffed animals, both have been very popular and comforting.
Then I brought puzzles and word game books. Yesterday, I bought a paper chain and some beautiful photo books, two from National Geographic. I brought a box of games and pencils and some sketchpads today.
I sat with the residents and talked with them while they had dinner. They got to vent their fear and frustration. They want to go home. Everyone is asking me when they can go home. I can only tell them the truth: I don’t know.
The Mansion aides who come to take care of the residents – Tia was on duty today when I came – said the residents have begun doing the puzzles, sketching some drawings, leafing through the photo books. They did a beautiful job on the paper chain before I got there.
During some quiet time, the aides are welcome to use the table as well, I suspect they need those items as well. At times, its awfully quiet in there. I’m planning to stock the table up with some more puzzles and books over the weekend, if the residents are still there.
Today, Tia set up an activity table, where the residents – who really need some stimulation – come to read a book, use a coloring book, work on a jigsaw puzzle, do a one-word search puzzle, or make a beautiful paper chain.
I dubbed the room the Mansion Refugee Activity Room in honor of the fact the Mansion residents are refugees this week, trying to adjust to a strange land. We prayed together briefly, all asking to be able to return quickly and safely to the Mansion, their special place, their home at this stage of life.
As I was leaving, I saw Tia studying a word puzzle and Brother Peter – who refuses any and all gifts – reading through a very beautiful photo book called “Sketches,” just a collection of extraordinary photos. I think the big photo books are a hit, I’ll pick up some more tomorrow.
I am happy to show you this photo so you can see what you have done. Small Acts of Great Kindness. Every day. You have made a real difference in the lives of these helpless people this week.