December 7, 2017, 6:18 PM

What St. Clement’s Means to Me by Terry Sandoff

For the past few weeks I have been thinking about what I wanted to say to you today.

The theme for today is “What St. Clement’s means to me.” 

My first response was quick and obvious.  St Clement’s is love.  And I believe it is true, St. Clement’s is love.  But, I kept thinking and rolling it around in my mind.

As it turns out, the last few weeks have been difficult for me.  One of the veterans we work with suddenly died, the holidays are upon us which triggers thoughts of my past. 

My parents were good people, but they had no business having children.  I loved my parents, but a lot of bad things happened to me growing up.  My parents were oblivious to all of it.

But I had glimpses of what family looked like on the yearly occasions when I saw my cousins.  My Aunt Jackie cooked and sewed and loved her kids.  My Uncle Ray was strong and caring and very kind. When a niece of theirs came home from school one day and found both her parents shot, my aunt and uncle adopted her.  She was 11 and I was 7 at the time.  I wish they had adopted me too.  They moved to Idaho shortly after that and I didn’t see them but a handful of times after that.  But every time, it felt good, like family.

And I thought, yes, that is what St. Clement’s means to me. Family.  They are the real family I didn’t have.  I feel welcomed and loved and appreciated even with all my quirks (and silly service dog).

But still I kept on thinking.  What does St. Clement’s mean to me?

And then it came to me…   Love + Family = Home.  The real home – like heaven on earth.

I can be my self – my best self.  I am loved, nurtured and cared for (warts and all).  That’s what St. Clement’s is to me.  Home.