Warmth of Heart and Home

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We woke up early Thursday morning to a frigid house that became increasingly cold as the day went on. The soonest a repair person could come would be late afternoon, so we turned on our small space heater and bundled up in layers. My beloved and I were aware of the chill in our fingers as they fumbled over computer keys and seized up while working from our home office and studio. He brought me some hand warmers to put in my pockets and we sipped copious cups of hot coffee and warm tea throughout the day. Though the temperature was uncomfortable, I felt warmed by the love present in my heart and home. I paused numerous times withgratitude for the fact that the absence of heat in the house was an exception.

There was a time in my adult life when a warm home wasn't a given. For years, I slept in layers, including socks and sometimes slippered feet and under the weight of multiple blankets. I woke up most winter mornings to a house so cold that I could see my own breath. My extremities only felt warm after a hot shower. During the work week, I would go from the cold house to car without heat, leaving earlier than necessary so that I could warm up in my classroom. In that space, I had some control over the heat output— something my partner at the time wouldn't allow at home.

I remember the first winter after I left him. I invested in a stockpile of down comforters, boots, scarves, mittens and hats to ensure that I would never feel the force of winter again. I savored that luxury of having the means to invest in warmth and the choice to heat my home to a comfortable temperature. I still do.

This week, as the temperature dropped, I reflectedon that cold, darker time in my life. I thought about the brave souls gathered at Standing Rock and the growing number of homeless who don't have warmth or shelter. I see how my past struggles and experiences were gifts for cultivating more empathy and compassion. As my awareness deepens, so does my gratitude and my desire to assist others in need of heat, light, and hope. Not just today but throughout the year. I hope to keep momentum and not slip into complacency. I hope that the warmth in my heart will reach well beyond my own hearth and home. It begins now.