The following is in response to today’s events that gripped us full and left us all a little more learned in the ways of how Heroes are called.
She looked somehow dignified in handcuffs.
In another life she would have been considered fair and lovely, but in this version she was surrounded by 3 police officers in an emergency waiting room, her walls so high only the purveyors of truth could catch a glimpse of the soul beneath.
I saw her.
And my three boys of 7, 8 and 53 were as captivated as I by the dance between scattered words and a conversation of the heart.
She had walked in, one shoe, two dirty once-florecent orange socks, gave a flip of her dusted firey hair, eyes trying desperately to hold steady while undeniably dying to dart at her onlookers.
I smiled and was filled with a mother’s love for a daughter so deserving of a simple childhood far far away from here. Instantly Nathaniel and Liam were aware, and offered her a small smile, which she returned with a rote saucy smirk, but seemed to realize her audience within seconds and grinned.
For the next 15 mins, I read Nathaniel Charlie, the story of a stray and scrawny tomcat who finds his way from lost in an alley to an English courtyard, children who recognize his innate sweet spirit and a place to play tiger in the grass.
I am half reading; Nathaniel is half listening.
Little did I know but we were both sending love to this precious lost girl. I could feel my compassion reaching out, wrapping around her, willing her to surrender to the truth of who she is.
She began to crumble a little, and as the police officers discussed the day’s events as though she were either absent or unimportant, her voice whispered out to a face beyond the room, “I am good. I really am good. You did a good job Gramma. I promise I am a good girl, at least I think I am.”
My deep and timeless instinct to care for her, swelled.
She began to choke with tears and called through their chatter to ask the officers if they could call her father and recited his number. Kindness, finally reached through them and they took it down, seeing her as if for the first time. And then they asked the million dollar questions, “How can we help? Are you on medications? Do you need anything?”
I closed my eyes and gave all I had to hope, then snuck a peek at the boys and saw that the intensity of their intention matched my own.
“I’m not on meds. The doc wouldn’t let me because my mother OD’d after she tried to kill me.”
Nathaniel’s eyes were wide with wonder bordering on fear. I nodded to my husband and mouthed, “Time for a walk.”
“Okay boys, let’s go and grab a snack from the cafeteria. We’ll come back and get mommy in a little bit,” Todd said.
As they rose to leave, I saw Nathaniel wondering how he could possibly go and leave her. And so I whispered, “Do me a favour Nathaniel, keep sending Sparkle Thoughts* to this sweet girl okay. She needs all our love right now and this is what we can give. She doesn’t have a mommy and daddy like you do and she’s very sad and lost, so she needs all the love we can send, okay?”
“I know mommy, I am.”
Liam and Todd overheard and nodded. Tears threatened to take me, but I kissed them all and off they scooted.
I sat waiting for an opinion as to what minor injury had befallen my shoulder; there was no pain of my own that I could discern now.
This faded angel of 21 shifted in her chair as my boys left. Then the flood began, the apologies to the police, the explanation of why she resisted arrest and how she longed for change.
She glanced in my direction and her softening eyes met mine.
No time, no space between, just a mother and a girl who missed her own, a soul who longed for compassion and a heart willing to give it… and three boys in the wings sending tenderness to keep the waves of compassion lifting and rising and hoping that in it all she would remember who she was and all that she could yet be.
There is much suffering in the world about us, day in, day out. It meets us in the most unexpected places, assaults our sense of justice, and forces us to choose whether it will break us, turn us to cynic or inspire us to step up and claim the hero within.
Heroism sometimes comes in the swooping acts of saving another from danger and other times it is delivered through invisible desires and Sparkle Thoughts.
I am on a mission to see, to offer of myself where I can and when I cannot change the world, to simply focus on the love I can offer in the name of hope. I long to raise leaders who can see the needs about them, shun skepticism and embrace compassion for all, right where they are. And when they can do nothing else, simply send thoughts, that powerful energy of shift and change available to us all, as real as the stars and planets and the moving of the earth itself.
May you see the world about you in all its worry and wonder and never shy away, but perpetually recognize the common thread of life and circumstance that holds us all.
“But for the grace of God, go I.”
In the spirit of choosing to wear the Cape in all its many forms,
*Sparkle Thoughts are the vibes of love and kindness and compassion that we can send to all those around us and in the world regardless of space or time. And in just that perfect moment, we believe, they will feel the tingle they need and know, somewhere deep within, that they are loved.