A former client recently wrote a note to Karidat in thanks for our help and said: “You treat us just like family.” We had to find a translator to understand the note because we do not share a common language with this particular person. We always have to use Google Translate or hand signals in order to communicate.
Even despite the language obstacle, the client seems to have known our sincerity and expressed that she always feels welcome. It was, for us, pretty much the highest praise we could have received, and we were all moved by her words.
The phrase, “just like family” was a particularly touching choice. Across language groups, ethnicities and nationalities, the concept of a family bond seems to be universal. All over the world, the duties and love of families is recognized as important, and even sacred. Family is meant to be the place where you feel cherished and safe, and loved more than anywhere else.
That is why it is so tragic when families do not live up to what they are meant to be. They forget to reserve the “best” for each other, and instead treat their family worse than they would any outsiders. In public, toward strangers, they put on a face of respectability and propriety. At home, though, it can be a very different story. Maybe they use demeaning language toward the ones who are closest to them. They tear each other down instead of building each other up, keep- ing track of wrongs and holding them against one another. Behind closed doors, where no one can see, they shout or hit or complain.
In the image of Church as a “field hospital” for the most wound- ed and suffering, our Diocese’s social service branch could maybe be seen in the role of a nurse or doctor. We tend to the ill and the broken.
This is what Karidat is for: the hurt, those who are too weak from their battles. We exist for those who cannot overcome their addictions, or their anger problems, and need help from others. So many are trying to get back on the path to loving their families well, and searching for healing, and we try to do what we can to help.
In our out of the Karidat offices, the test of the sincerity of our love is the same for all of us: do we treat our own well? Do our families feel our gentleness and do they feel special, as if part of an inner circle who are receiving especially good care, as ones who are particularly cherished?