I am guilty of three remarkable acts this past week. Each day, since Monday, it seemed that the spinning roulette wheel changed, ever so slightly. I grew a few centimeters, parameters expanded and nothing was as it had been the day before. I found myself doing and saying things that felt completely natural...and were enormously odd.
The first incident in which I realized that I had changed, was as I sat in the waiting room of the local mental health center, waiting for my son to exit his therapy session. There are two waiting rooms. The first, much larger one, seemed overwhelming with people, voices, the blaring television and the banter and interaction of too many bodies. I excused myself and sought out the small, more private waiting area. At first I hesitated, as there was someone nervously pacing in the room. I froze for a minute, weighing my options, then walked in to the smaller room.
The anxious woman sat down, puffing a water-vapor cigarette, bouncing this leg and that. I proceeded to ignore her, to shut out all extraneous stimuli, pretending to be non-existent, I played a game on my phone. For a minute, my mind contemplated....do I continue to ignore this poor, troubled woman? Do I continue to be actively engrossed in the surreal and safe world of gaming? Or, do I take a chance, make a strange step in a virginal direction, and engage, talk to this human?
I turned off my phone and asked her what she thought of the weather. I let down my walls, opened my ears and eyes...I may have even smiled a bit, at this complete stranger who occupied this space and time continuum with me. Normally, my usual reaction would have been to be afraid and guarded, even nary a month ago, I never would have allowed the shields to go down. But, it felt okay to do.
We exchanged pleasantries, simple questions with mundane answers. Then I delicately pried further and she told me her story. She had troubles, big troubles, with medication and sanity. It was quite clear to me, that she was very much alone in the world. I get that. I understood her and where she was at, so I listened more intently, smiled more broadly, and offered positive encouragement.
She continued to pace, at times, but the rapid movements didn't faze or scare me, as was my usual fare. The convesation lulled, hushed. Out of nowhere I asked her if she wanted a hug. No sooner had I stood, then this unknown, hurting being rushed into my open arms. I said whatever came into my head. "You are a good person. You're a wonderful person. Everything is going to be alright," I said aloud as I hugged her and gently rubbed her back. She cried.
I can only imagine the months,the years, since anyone had genuinely, safely hugged her, wanting nothing in return.
After a bit, she moved away and extended her hand, introducing herself formally. I took her hand warmly and did the same. I could see her tears of happiness. I felt very warm inside. Shortly thereafter, someone came in the room and ushered her to her appointment.
I was grateful for such an opportunity, to make someone feel good, better about themselves and their current situation. I marveled at whatever caring force within me had changed in the past week.
I'm not who I used to be.
That's a lot of info to process. I'll touch on the other two events later.
Be well. Take the opportunity to be kind whenever possible.