It was just after three in the afternoon, plenty of sunlight outside streaming in through the big front windows–but every light in the apartment was on, blazing–even the little lights over the bathroom sink and the kitchen counters. Even the closet lights. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I know it’s such a waste of energy, and I won’t leave them all on for long…but it’s just so beautiful! I want to see it all lit up for a while!”
“It” is her new apartment at Stoddard Johnston Scholar House, the third residential facility of Family Scholar House. Marleena and her four year-old daughter moved in six days before Christmas.
Like so many others who’ve found their way to FSH, Marleena’s journey has not been easy. Like so many others, life hasn’t worked out quite like she’d hoped it would, planned for it to. And, now, like so many others, she’s found a solid place to stand each day and a safe place to be both the best scholar and the best mother she can possibly be. She has said “yes,” to full-time parenting and full-time school, and, in doing so, has committed to being part of the FSH residential community. She’s beaming–absolutely lit up with joy at having landed at her new address at Scholar House Way (of her new address she says, “It just makes you sound brilliant!”).
She’s set her sights on the prizes of a nursing degree (via Bellarmine University), homeownership, “rocking” the nursing world and a life that holds more goodness than not. Her daughter is as amazing as she is and of her Marleena says, “She’s just so smart, and I want someone to grab a hold of that brain!” What every good mother wants. In all times and places.
Marleena knows sadness and desperation, hurt and confusion, loss and fear. She’s known abuse. She’s known homelessness. She’s known feeling like utter failure. But these days? These days she knows hope.
Her story, it’s just beginning. She’s got the whole world in front of her, no matter the mistakes and heartache and pain of the past. And, for now, at least in these quiet days after Christmas, her greatest happiness is knowing that she and her daughter are home–and the future is even brighter than those lights she’s got on everywhere.