My process for writing this blog every morning usually begins as I awaken. Tendrils of thoughts drift through my mind, escaping into wakefulness. I touch one, and for a moment, it materializes, gains substance as it connects to some deeper, subconscious knowing that yearns for awakening. And then I open my eyes, progress through my morning rituals of bringing the paper in, coffee making, mediating, etc.
This morning, a thought flit through my mind with the delicacy of a wisp of smoke spiraling up from a snuffed out candle. "That wasn't a relationship that almost killed you Louise. It was a relationship that set your free."
I like the context, the shifting of the story from the dark side of the continuum of my life to the light.
And as I meditate my mind quietens and, as always happens, no matter how quiet my mind, a thought emerges of why that comment is so important. The gifts of that relationship far outweigh the pain. When I let go of thinking of it as a burden, or hardship, or trauma endured, it has room to evolve into a gift in the light of Love.
Yes, at the time it was happening, it was all those things awful that hurt me and the ones I love. But today, it is just moments in time long passed away. Today, I hold onto the beauty of what I learned, of how I've embraced the wonder of me, in all my dimensions, to love Beauty and the Beast, warts and all.
When I was in that relationship I tried a few times to end it. Once, I went to the police to tell them what happened and to seek help. I've never been one to want to get even with others and when told that there were, at that time, no grounds for the law to step in, I walked away, defeated. But one thing the officer said to me stuck, even though at the time, I could not see or hear or feel its truth. "This isn't love. Love doesn't hurt like this." he said after I told him some of the frightening things that had been happening.
It was that detectives comment which would sustain me after Conrad was arrested. After I got the miracle of my life and was set free. I would remind myself -- What he did wasn't love. Love never hurts. And what he did hurt.
When giving talks to people on homelessness, especially emergency responders or social service workers, I always tell them, "You never know how what you do or what you say will impact someone. We can't know when they will hear our voice, or remember our touch or how we treated them. And so, it's important to always be kind. For that kindness will resonate and one day, your kindness may be the thing that connects the person back to their humanity away from homelessness."
We never know the impact of what we do or say -- unless someone tells us.
Yesterday, a staff member took me aside to tell me how knowing me has affected him. When he approached to ask if I'd take a moment to chat with him, I was a little worried. He looked very, very serious and I wondered... what did I do wrong -- don't you just love that child's voice? She lives within me, popping up to remind me -- I gotta let go of the past! It does not serve me well today.
I walked down a hallway to a quiet corner where the staff member turned and faced me and proceeded to tell me how I've changed his life for the better.
He made me cry -- in a good way. He touched my heart. I felt grace descend and in that moment remembered -- We never know the impact of what we do or say. To create ripples of grace, be grace in all things, all matters, all ways.
Last week, at a meeting, a man from another agency asked me, "What's one thing you'll take away from the shelter?"
I smiled and replied effortlessly, "The knowing that being there has made me a better human being."
Being there has given me the gift of grace. It has opened me up to my humanity, to what it is that connects me to all human beings. It has touched me in profound and stunning ways, in ways I never imagined. Being there has allowed me to become all I am and to love all I am -- Beauty and the Beast, warts and all -- no matter my condition.
I don't know why that's happened. Or how. But that is what has happened for me. In learning to love others exactly where they're at, no matter their condition, I have learned to love myself, no matter where I'm at, no matter my condition.
I have learned to give myself the gift of forgiveness. The grace of acceptance. The embrace of Love.
And in those moments when I act less than all I am, to breathe and let my heart soften with the words, "Bless them. Forgive me."
I am grateful.
We never know the impact of what we do or say. We never know how our words or deeds will resonate with another.
When we speak and act with the intent to create better, our ripple shimmers in the light flowing from our hearts, touching the world in Love.
May your day be filled with ripples of love flowing all around.