Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A resolution to love

If you wait around for the world to give you what you think you deserve, you are going to be sadly disappointed when you get it.” – katdish
Eight plus years ago, when I came out of the darkness that was my relationship with 'the bad man', I resolved to cherish every day. To live, in Love, so that all I created in the world was, harmony, peace, joy.

My resolution was firm, my ability to live it every day shaky. My life was in such complete disarray, I had ample opportunity to test my resolve, to pit myself against despair and turn up in Love, in all kinds of weather.

And man. It hurt. It was hard.

I knew I didn't deserve to be abused. But, to have what I believed I deserved -- a world of love, joy, peace, harmony, beauty -- I had to take action. I couldn't wait around for the world to give it to me. As Katdish so succinctly says -- waiting around would only disappoint me with its results.

And so, every day I resolved to do something to create love and joy and beauty in my world.

Every day, Ellie, the wonder pooch, and I would walk in the woods and I would look up into the sky and ask God to carry the burden of my despair so that I could take another step in the right direction.

Every day I awoke and committed to doing one thing, no matter how big, nor small, to create love in my world.

One of the first things I did was to volunteer with a group of people at the church I had started attending. Every Tuesday morning we met in the church basement to make sandwiches for 'street people' in Vancouver's east end. Our efforts were in support of 'mama', a woman who rode her scooter every Wednesday night into the east end, pulling a cart laden with soup and sandwiches that she would distribute amongst the junkies and hookers and lost souls of the street.

'Mama' was in her sixties. She'd been on social assistance most of her adult life because of physical disabilities. She had heart problems. Was over-weight. Was poorly educated. Had lived a very hard life that wasn't getting any easier. And still, she took what meagre money she had and kept giving back to the community.

Her resolve to create a better world, helped my resolve to create love in my world, no matter its disarray, no matter the condition of my heart, or my wallet.

As I spread margarine and piled tuna on the bread, I would imagine my hands were filled with love and that love was flowing into every sandwich I made. I didn't know who's bellies would be filled by those sandwiches I made, I just knew that if I could keep filling them with love, perhaps one heart would be touched in a way that took that soul into a new direction.

And as I spread meats upon the breads, I didn't realize how touched my heart was by the simple act of volunteering, of giving back, no matter my condition.

One Wednesday night I joined Mama on her rounds of the east end. It was not pretty. I was scared. This was an area known for crime. For drugs and drug dealing. Murders were not uncommon. And yet, once on the street, walking beside Mama and her motorized scooter, pulling her cart laden with hot soup and sandwiches, I had no reason to be afraid. Everyone knew who she was. They anticipated her arrival and treated her with great respect and consideration.

People were friendly. Welcoming. Appreciative.

I remember one young boy. Probably no older than 18, who came up to Mama, gave her a hug and chatted as if he'd known her all his life. She called him, "Sonny". He called her 'Mama' and when he left, she thrust a few dollars into his hand and told him to go buy himself a hot breakfast the next morning.

One of our fellow volunteers said, "You know he'll probably go use that on drugs?"

Mama shook her head. "No I don't," she replied. "What I know is that he needs to feel like someone cares about him enough to trust him to buy himself a hot breakfast."

It was a lesson in humility and social justice.

And I resolved, then and there, to never let my judgments stand in the way of ethical treatment of every person I meet.

Sometimes, my resolution is tested in ways I can't imagine. Sometimes, I fall short of my vision of a world where every person is treated with dignity and respect, their human condition honoured with love.

Sometimes I forget. There is no 'us and them'. It is all of us together.

And no matter where I am, Mama and her sandwiches remain a beacon of hope burning brightly in my heart. She remains the measure of what it means to give without standing in judgment of those we serve.

And always, I am reminded to live my resolution to let go of discord and give into harmony, to surrender and fall in Love.


It is another One Word Blog Carnival at Peter Pollock's. Today's word prompt is: Resolution.

One of the things I love about the Carnival is it's ability to awaken memories, to create linkages to past experiences I've forgotten, or simply not connected. Writing about "resolution" reminded me of the remarkable woman I met in Vancouver several years ago. I am grateful.

To read more writings and thoughts on "Resolution", please go visit the One Word Blog Carnival host -- Peter Pollock.

You'l be glad you did. And... so will we!



Maureen said...

You've shown us many times, through your writings about your work, how you've sustained the resolution you made, and what that has meant for your own life. I think there are probably quite a few like "Mama" in this world but only a few of us ever get to meet her.

S. Etole said...

This brings tears to my eyes ... what an example she is/was. You have carried that gift well.

Anonymous said...

I have recently discovered your blog. You inspire me! Although my circumstances are different, I am currently going through a difficult time. I hope I can make through the pain and loneliness and FEAR as well as you have!

A Joyful Noise said...

This is a lovely story about those willing to give their mite to the lords work. Mama did not have much but with the assistance of others she could travel to distant missionary fields (across town). Thank you for such a wonder memory of a saint who was willing to serve and you too who volunteered.

Fi said...

As anonymous says - you inspire all of us. I for one love reading your stories and about the path you've taken to the 'amazing you'.

Everyone needs a 'mama' who simply believes in them and cares. Thank you for sharing a story about one of those mamas

Louise Gallagher said...

You are so right, Maureen -- It has meant a great deal for my life. And yes, I feel blessed to have met 'Mama'. Thank you for being here, part of my journey.

Louise Gallagher said...

Thank you Susan. She was/is an amazing woman.

Louise Gallagher said...

Hello Anonymous -- and welcome to Recover Your Joy. I am grateful to meet you and to know my words inspire you.

Please know, you are not alone. No matter what you are going through -- there is hope for there is always love -- be bold. Be brave. Be your most amazing self.

Hugs -- thank you for commenting.

Louise Gallagher said...

Thank you Hazel for adding your joy here! Lovely to see you.

Louise Gallagher said...

Thank you Fi. I so appreciate your presence here. You inspire me too!