Joe’s Pond

“Joe’s Pond,” as I like to remember it, is one of the most peaceful places I have ever seen. The day I arrived to the Chantilly site, Joseph Wiley, the Support Services Manager, and I took pictures of the area I found interesting. He shared when the day seems to get under his skin, he comes to this pond on a break to breathe.

So, in that space I shut my eyes and took a breath. I listened to the sounds of birds and the wind. A wonderful sound came through suddenly – a prop plane. Growing up in the 1960s, I lived near Dallas Love Field airport. There are not many other sounds that compare to the prop plane buzz. It is indented in my mind of a peaceful time as a child.

The Chantilly center is a newly constructed building. The staff were wonderful, caring for the guests in crisis, and watching over me as I painted. They were (and are!) a strong representation of how the RI Way is embodied in care for the people we serve. I am always amazed of the way every staff member I meet wants to support those in need and who are experiencing challenges.

I was so happy to paint this mural, and when it was completed I was sad to leave. I worked to add many empowering quotes throughout the mural for our current and future guests to find. Many of the staff provided their favorite ones. As I left, I reminded them to find their quote each day and to use it to provide happiness as they served others in this space.

Thank you, Chantilly, for those great days.

Lucy Schwartz

Lucy is a Peer Recovery Specialist at RI International and has spread her mural magic in RI International crisis facilities across the United States.