One thing that surprises me about Christ House is the lasting friendships that are made or re-kindled on the second floor. Friends from childhood, friends from sharing an experience while on the street, or long-lost relatives, there are so often connections made here that the staff can never anticipate. I like to call this the magic of the Christ House Matchmaking Machine. It usually starts with a new admission.
When a patient is first admitted to Christ House, a nurse will go over the handbook with them, listing out all the rules and what’s to be expected while staying at our facility. We then assign them to a room. This process usually looks to accommodate a patient’s disability status, whether or not we anticipate a behavior issue, and the personalities of the patients already assigned to that room. All we can do is cross our fingers that the patients will get along well enough to not cause problems. However, every so often a case of serendipity happens, where a patient will be placed in a room with another and come to find a new friend. It’s these moments that are the work of the Christ House Matchmaking Machine.
The famous couples of 2021-2022 thus far have been an inspiration to me during my time at Christ House. There is the famous pairing of Mr. Clark and Mr. Hamilton. They became friends at Christ House when they were roomed together and they would spend all day laying in bed chatting to each other. Mr. Clark would teach Mr. Hamilton about his views on the world (particularly Moorish culture). There is the famous reunion of Mr. Anderson and Mr. Davis, who discovered they are long distance cousins while rooming together at Christ House and went on to refer to each other as such. Mr. Davis would go out of his way to make sure his cousin was doing okay, making it to meals, taking his time with his cane, and getting the snacks that he liked. One of the most memorable pairings for me was the reunion of Mr. Williams and Mr. Emerson. They were friends during their time on the street and had known each other for over a decade before meeting again at Christ House. Mr. Williams had late stage cancer and his time was limited when Mr. Emerson was admitted. They were able to reconnect and reminisce about their past lives for a brief time before Mr. Williams passed away. Mr. Emerson was devastated by his friend’s passing but was grateful for God bringing them together for the short time they had. All the work of the magical Christ House Matchmaking Machine.
These friendships show a hope and strength that I think is so important when recovering from suffering. To be able to find value in fraternity is part of the mission that Christ House aims to provide for the community, a part of the healing process that often gets overlooked in bigger healthcare settings. Seeing these friendships that form and grow at Christ House has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my year of service and I hope to carry on their message as I move forward in my healthcare journey.
This reflection was written by 2021-2022 Year Long Volunteer Holly, one of the nurses on our 2nd floor. Patient names have been changed.