Welcome to the Hearth

Welcome to the Hearth

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pass the love around!


For the last 19 years I have been making clay hearts. They were created 19 years ago for a little group of women who were in a special treatment program for women who needed to deal with their alcohol and drug addictions and a friend of mine and I, who had just founded our non profit, Sophia Center, were asked to go in and do the Higher Power talk. I knew that there was no way in early recovery, that the women would remember anything we said, so being a clay artist, I wanted to give them a small token made of clay that would be a tangeable sign of hope and healing from Higher Power that they could connect with well after we were gone. My friend suggested we make them heart-shaped and the Hearthstones were born. That was 19 years ago. Back then, I didn't realize I would be making little valentines from God for the next 2 decades! I have no idea how many thousands, millions, maybe, I have made or have gotten others to help me make over the years. What I do know, however, is that it is a labor of love I cherish everyday. It is an honor and a blessing to have this job. There have been some years when I have actually had a few employees make them for and with me, but, for the most part it is my daily work. I have had many, many people tell me the stories of how they came to have one or who they have shared theirs with. I never realized when I made that first batch that it would be a career for me to make, well, "valentines from God." Some of the stories bring tears to my eyes. I know why they are so powerful, too. Each and every one is prayed over as it is transformed from a big chunk of clay into a lovely and simple clay heart. In the first 10 years when our center was located in the old laundry building at Marylhurst, we had what we called "Hearthtalks" where ordinary women and sometimes men sat around the table sharing their lives with one another. While we talked we smoothed the sharp edges of the freshly cut and stamped hearts, while they were still unfired and a bit like leather. It was like an old fashioned quilting bee of sorts. Someone always brought snacks and we usually had someone lead the discussion so there was some flow to our sharing. While we worked, each woman loved the little stack of hearts she was smoothing, silently intending that whoever ended up with her hearts would be blessed with what ever they most needed at the moment. This has been the nearly 20 year intent behind these magical little clay hearts. They are out there, too. People would call me and say that they went for a walk in some state park near where they lived and left hearthstones along the way in hopes that the right person would find a much needed surprise in their path. Many have found their way into the knapsacks of combat soldiers as a reminder that they are loved, no matter what. I like to think that this work is "seeding the consciousness of the future" as well, because some of them will endure and future generations will unearth them at just the right moment in their life. My hope is that it will come true, as the first little group of women wished, that if we just kept making them and sending them out, that someday everyone on the planet would have one in their pocket. We shall see, I know I will do my best to fulfill that mandate.I have had much help, both seen and unseen to do just that. Happy Valentine's Day!

10 comments:

Kikipotamus said...

Oh, wow, what wonderful work. I love the thought of these eventually making it to every single person on the planet.

Rebecca said...

I still have one (or maybe 2) and cherish them. They are lovely and I can feel the love with which they were made.

Blessed be! Life is good
Rebecca

Lillithmother said...

ok, now THIS is how i envision teaching my daughter about love of others. these are truly gifts from the heart(h)...and finding love when you most need it (even when you don't know it) is exquisitely healing! if it's ok with you, i'd like to link this post from my blog...

peace,
Lil
www.changingwoman.wordpress.com

lucy said...

i could feel the power of those little hearts as i read this post and imagined all of the lives that have touched and been touched by them. blessings to you as you continue this mighty work.
i love hearts almost as much as i love stars :-) today i received a beautiful little red glass heart from my beloved. i am not sure when it started but he continues to surprise me with little hearts of various mediums.
spreading the love! peace to you, sr. K!

miss*R said...

I love mine! and oneday, I plan on buying some to have in a dish to give out to people.. hey, I could even carry them in my purse.

I am goign to post about mine.. just need to get some photos..

bless you dear Sr.K xoxo

sorrow11 said...

It is a wonder that the simplest and smallest acts of Love have the most far reaching and long lasting effects. This was a Heart warming and smile bringing read. Little things with great love...Thank you so MUCH!
walk easy...

ladybug said...

It is so wonderful to be brought back into life when you're walking too deep in your mind or in your troubles. Your hearts are a gorgeous way to send a message to those who need to hear it.

You are loved.....

You are loved.....

You are loved.....

The Dream said...

I love your creations, Sister Kathryn - truly. Think I'll head on over to the Sophia Center and get some ... NOW! I love what you wrote about the women early in recovery. I need to bear in mind the truth of these words. When I was in that place, I needed to Keep It Simple - very, very simple. The message I am receiving is: Too Much is Too Much! Thank you for this post, your Art, and for being right on time. There are no coincidences!

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