Cherry Thoughts – A Note from Cathy Purple Cherry
I’ve been practicing architecture for 30 years and it never gets old. Architecture is art and interior architecture is the brushstroke that creates the whole. When you’re truly passionate for your profession, it no longer is a job but rather an incredible journey. And when opportunities are presented that blend the passion of architecture with compassion, it is the greatest joy. I have been so very blessed to have incredible opportunities. They come in many forms and I’d like to share a few.
Architectural opportunities led me to the Ronald McDonald House and now, 15 years later, my team has made dinner for the residents over 80 times and will continue to do so as long as I live. This experience was crucial for me to share with my PCA team. I believe it is incredibly important to be able to show compassion and support to others struggling and to be able to know that others around us can be suffering greatly and need our tenderness.
Architectural opportunities led me to Hospice of the Chesapeake. And during that architectural journey, my aging mother joined me from Florida. We shared 21 months together before she went home to God. During her time with me, I learned about palliative care from Hospice. That ultimately led to Hospice carrying her to the end. And now, my family and my PCA team continues financial and volunteer support with this incredible organization.
Architectural opportunities led me to serve clients who then experienced the journey of cancer. This allowed me to have incredible faith conversations and the great honor of bringing my friends and team forward to help not in a professional way but rather in a nurturing way. Moving these clients physically into their homes, unpacking their lifelong possessions, setting each personal item in place and sharing meals and company. These memories and ongoing experiences continue to fill my soul!
Architectural opportunities led me to touch the special needs population. Having a brother and an adopted son with special needs gave me a special gift for these environments. And in return, each of these programs (locally – Opportunity Builders, Arundel Lodge, Benedictine School, Cisco Center and many others across the country) have engaged my heart and the hearts of my other children and my team. I have been forever formed by this journey with family members and others with special needs.
And the stories go on and on. The constant lesson for me is lead with your heart and don’t miss out on the opportunities presented for reasons beyond your profession. Why else are we really here? We are guided by God to be kind, compassionate, loving, and supportive human beings rather than shallow, selfish, greedy and evil. Look in the mirror and decide what path you will take. And if it is the path of compassion, then lead by example.