In the spirit of the RAKathon last week, I searched the Orlando area for places to visit to acquire some high RAK points. I came across the Russell Home for atypical children and called them to see if I could bring in some festive goodies to celebrate the American Independence Day. They were extremely cordial and welcoming! We (My friend Shikha and I ) picked up some festive cupcakes and arrived there at lunchtime.
They welcomed us with big smiles and heartfelt gratitude for bringing in cupcakes to celebrate the Fourth! Walking with two big trays of cupcakes towards the lunchroom, a sense of fulfilment and joy pervaded our hearts.
As we stepped in the lunch hall, it was as if the river of joy in our hearts met the ocean of bliss! We met many severely disabled residents ranging from age 4 to 73. They were all trying to communicate with us in their sweet, unique way! Although we couldn’t understand some of their speech, the purity and wonderment made their eyes sparkle like a thousand stars. There was no sign of regret, no trace of unhappiness and not an ounce of a sense of individual existence – they were smiling with their entire being!
The caretakers were bridging the gap between these pure souls and us with gentle words, and their love and care brought tears to our eyes! The beautiful smiling faces of the residents and the love and compassion of the caretakers is the best introduction of The Russell Home in Orlando, Florida.
We toured the beautiful home, and Mrs Russell’s story unfolded before us. We felt so blessed to be at this home where Mrs Russell had started this work in 1951. A question kept arising in my mind, but I was dreading the answer, so I kept it till the absolute very end. Finally, I had to know the answer, and I asked if there was a waiting list to get into the home. They said that there many kids on the waiting list but they couldn’t handle anymore. My heart filled with pain!
I prayed for all those special children so they could also find a loving and nurturing home like this. An extreme sense of helplessness took over my being, and we left from there in silence.
The very next week, another friend, Neela and I returned to drop off some immediately needed items. They were immensely grateful, but we truly felt that that’s the least we could do!
Through her actions and her legacy, Mrs Russell silently taught us that the only legacy worth leaving behind is that of unconditional love!
Heartfelt gratitude to my Master for guiding me to this home of love!
The only legacy worth leaving behind is that of unconditional love!