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  • Frances Schwabenland

Portrait of a hero in the time of covid

We the People of Hope and Healing

"A true heart isn't measured by the size of his strength but by the strength of his heart." Zeus, Hercules

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." (Isaiah 40:29)

"I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

Carey told me that he isn't that religious but it is these quotes that provides him with daily inspiration. He gets strength from repeating them as he single handedly fathers two sons and is a full time "CAREgiver" for Home Instead. A friend of mine, Trish Todd, suggested that I photograph Carey for this project because he has been taking care of her mother for about a year and in her words, 

"He is wise beyond his years."  

"He is a peaceful soul who is so kind and gentle."

"He knows how to really listen and understand the layers behind the words."

"Carey has an innate ability to care for others when they don't even know they need care and he has a smile that goes right to your heart." 

Trish's mom also wanted me to know her thoughts:

"I just love his huge smile as he quietly goes about his tasks and never seeks the limelight. "

"He gets embarrassed by too much attention."

"The patients always come first over his needs."

I thought their words would be the best to give a glimpse into this gentle, quiet man's heart and spirit. When I create a portrait, I sit in stillness and just see what message wants to be heard. Over and over, what kept coming to mind was how Carey just lifts people up...mentally, physically and emotionally. He is a sensitive companion walking with, enabling and enhancing. There is a rising up!

I used an image of a man with his arms spread wide, reaching past the building up to the sky. In one hand there is a flame. Carey's presence is transformative. This comes from the Philadelphia mural entitled, "Metamorphosis" by Josh Sarantitis. The other image comes from a mural at 17th and Morris St. on the wall at St. Thomas Acquinas gymnasium. I was unable to find the title and the artist but I thought this fit so well because Carey goes into many homes and brings comfort to people from all backgrounds and cultures. He gathers people into his heart as the mural shows people gathered at a table. I added a lotus as the sign of enlightenment and triumph over obstacles because Carey embraces his calling to be of service to those in need. There are two hot air balloons symbolizing how encouragement and kindness lighten one's soul. I have also included a photograph of a tapestry created by amazing women I met in Peru. The women gather and create this beautiful wall art symbolizing peace on earth - the way we hope life would be. The sale of these help their children have educational programs, healthy nutrition and health care. Carey reads to his clients, creates healthy meals and accompanies them to medical appointments. He creates life as we hope it to be... another quiet but powerful hero among us.

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