Monday, December 18, 2006

" the last night and familiar strangers "


she was leaning up against and turned into the jagged brick walls of a school building, her face hidden by the slight cast of a shadow from a small elevated group of lamps. from down the street you could see her small frame enveloped by a worn leather jacket filled with some insulating material, most likely goose down or wool-lined.

she was at that angle that people fall into when they do not care who is passing by or where they are along a flat exposed wall. something was the matter.

as i got closer and passed by, i thought i heard a deep laugh. she was on a mobile phone, and i thought it common of people to be lifted away into their own little social bubbles when on the phone; the world around you dissipates and everything becomes less important than that connection.

i caught a glimpse of something sparkling in the shadow of her face out of the corner of my eye, as i walked past in a fashion that conveyed i had a destination close by. but, i was in no particular rush at all.

a few steps past her along the wall i head the same sound turning into a deep brassy jutting wail. she was crying, in tears, and unwell. her tiny head was shaking into the volumes of pony-tailed curly hair, as she wiped a defeated arm across her eyes; the watered stains steaming in the night air and the stifled gulps of air jutted into the world from an inner pain.

for some reason i felt a sadness inside of me; one of those emotions that is transferred just by empathy. i felt an intense rush of potential shame in myself if i didn't go to see if i could do something for her. it was the human and humanity factor that made me stop.

but what do you do? i mean, as a stranger. complete strangers on the street walking by do not have any reason to double check on anyone in apparent emotional distress...or do we have that responsibility? are we not all in this thing together? whatever "this" is, it is shared, and i had to do something. but what?

all i could think of in the moment that wouldn't be intrusive, or creepy, or scary, or disrespectful, or any of the other things that people think about their own actions when they interact with people that they don't know, was to see if i had any tissues for her.

i found them in my bag, and walked back to her at the wall. not knowing what the protocol was, i just gently tapped her on the arm. when she turned her head towards me, i placed two folded tissues into her free hand.

the image of her full face was almost too much to bear. one of the most strikingly real moments in a long time, she looked so deeply affected. sad, but in that way where you cannot control yourself. emotions a flutter. unsure where to place your words properly. unsure what is going on and what will happen.

is it horrible of me to think that this stranger crying in the night was a beautiful thing to look at? the raw state of being when you succumb to yourself in such a way is surely one of the most beautiful things to experience. and yet, i still felt bad about even being a witness to it. because even though it was something, she was still in pain, and it was not my place to anything more.

she said thank you to me in the most heart-breaking way. the words creaked out though a cragged guttered throaty suggestion of sounds, and she immediately wiped the tears from her puffed face, leaking nose, and wobbly lips.

i placed my hand on the side of her arm for a brief moment, because it was all i could do to convey that i hoped she got through the night okay. and i hope she did. she seemed strong, just in a moment of weakness, and i did what i could.


tonight's homework:

we have the power to say bold statements without speaking. if you see the opportunity to help someone out, do it. if you feel the need to be that person who can aide someone in making them feel better, do it. it is in each one of us; this responsibility to take care of each other. if you see someone in need, don't pass up the opportunity to do so.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

" on the cusp of "


tomorrow could be the best day of your life. well, not real life, but at least a step towards what one might consider a career.

you'll wear the shirt and tie, you'll sit down in the chair and be the best "you" you can. it'll be a chance to reinvent yourself, and you're going to do great. they'll want to hear more from you, to take you onto the team. team awesome.

there's nothing better than that feeling that you are taking control of your destiny, no matter how far the leap or small the measured increment. it's always in those moments when you have to consider that what you are doing now, might not be the best thing for you.

you have to wonder what you could potentially do, potentially accomplish, given the right inputs.

so i step forward to the line and am casting myself forward, in the hope that tomorrow will be one of those days. the ones that take you closer to yourself.

it always seems that it's the greatest idea, and at this moment, it very well could be.