What is that magic feeling?
Contributed by Laura Johnson
There is a feeling inside Charlford House that immediately soothes the soul of anyone who enters it. I'm not the only one to notice this - you hear it from the women, staff, and volunteers – and there are others much more qualified than I am to describe what it's like to walk into the house for the first time. Over the years, many women have shared their experiences stepping up the 12 concrete stairs and through the front door, imbued with equal measures of courage and trepidation as they prepare to face their demons for the next 3 months. My first step over the threshold was much less courageous. As a prospective board member, I had only to meet the other board directors and present myself as a worthy candidate. Yes there were nerves involved (a lot), but they were quelled once I sat down in the dining room that serves as gathering place for monthly board meetings. And now each time I enter the house I am instantly put at ease. It's as though nearly 50 years of miracle-making lingers in the walls and gently instills the air with the residual magic of lives saved and renewed. There is a palpable sensation that this is a good place. All are loved here, and anything is possible. But is it really these four walls that are the source of these feelings of acceptance and inspiration? I believe that the true genesis of Charlford House's magic is its people and their collective will to see each woman succeed: it's the hope and drive of board members, staff, volunteers and the women themselves to overcome. From what I have witnessed in just one year, it is this good will that produces a determined, indefatigable, and loving energy that fills every corner, and fuels every function and operation of the house. The impossible becomes possible time and again and more miracles are made. Charlford House is a special place. You will feel it if you are ever lucky enough to be present under its roof. However, its magic lives within each person who has ever walked back down the 12 stairs, empowered with the love and message of Charlford House and ready to light up the world.
It is this power that we will harness in the coming years as we strive towards a new and different challenge: finding another set of four walls for Charlford House. After 50 years, this well-loved and well-loving house is showing its wear, and it's time to relocate to a new, 'forever home'. It will take more than magic to reach our capital campaign's target. Hard work and unrelenting commitment to the vision lie ahead. It may seem like a daunting pursuit, but as long as the people of Charlford House are the driving force, we can achieve yet another miracle.