Last week I was in Peoria, Il., where my parents were born. My Uncle took my brother and I on a tour of some of the places that he, my mother, and their two sisters grew up. Part of their childhood was spent at Guardian Angel Orphanage. We had the opportunity to tour the site and to learn about it’s history.
As I walked the halls I imagined what it would have been like as a little child to live there. To be without parents – either because of death or other circumstances. To know the stories of all of the other children who came and went. To be dressed up and waiting when someone was supposed to pick you up, and to feel the disappointment of them never coming. And to climb these stairs.
When the orphanage was no longer an orphanage, it served as a home for refugees. I imagined the totally different, yet similar feelings I may have felt as a refugee. New to America, away from home, not understanding the language because I couldn’t yet speak English. And to look out this window at the tree and imagine it as my friend.
And I thought about how life is what you make of it. How your circumstances can be tough, can be lonely, can be disappointing. But with every difficulty there is opportunity, there are lessons to be learned, there is always more love to give. And there will always be people wanting and willing to help one another, as we journey through our little piece of history.