Monday, March 03, 2008

Time

Yesterday, I looked back. We'd had a busy Saturday what with buying a new cell phone in the morning, tea with blog princess at lunch then 'The Other Boleyn Girl' at the movie theatre. So Sunday was simply a quiet day at home. Joe picked up the fixings for supper and we cooked up a feast. But during the day there were quiet hours of reading, rest and reflection. On days like these I often look back.

It's been a long, hard road. The journeys definately not been without joy, but it has been without doubt, tough. A tough home life, a brutal school life, pariah status from sexuality, disinvitation from my church ... then the journey through AIDS and the loss of our social circle, the condemnation because of my advocacy for sexual rights for those with disability followed by grudging acknowlegement. Getting to 'respected' from 'rejected' has taken some work.

I realize, of course, that everyone has a journey to make. That my experiences make me more like others rather than less a part of the herd. This has something that has been dawning in my conciousness over the last couple of years work at Vita. I battled a sense of incredible 'aloneness' over much of my early life. Well into my twenties and thirties - even with Joe beside me - I felt the abandonment that I felt as a ugly child of an angry mother.

At Vita I have the last office around the corner towards the washroom. It is outside the busy path of the building. If I get in early and close the door, people don't even know I'm in. I only close the door now if I'm meeting someone or if I'm working on deadline on a project. Other than that I keep the door open. I face away from the hallway when sitting at my desk so I don't notice much of the comings and goings.

But over the last year or so, at least a couple times a month, I hear a soft knock at my open door. There will be standing there someone young, as much as I felt "all growed up" at 20 or 30, I see it as so young now. "Could I talk to you for a minute?"

"Sure."

The door slides closed.

Then after an embarrased rush of words. We end up talking. Someone who feels alone, wants to talk about life, about career, about dreams, about wishes and hopes ... and of course, about fear. This happened to me again early last week. I sat and talked with a woman who was clearly distraught and I waited for the clencher - the reason for the visit. Then it poured forth ...

And for an instant, maybe two, I was so grateful for walking the path I'd walked. To be given the opportuntity, because of a shared experience of pain and fear, to let someone know that 'this too' is survivable. That there were options, were perspectives that she had not seen. The chat grew warm with mutual respect and caring. She teared up as she said 'thanks' for my time. I was thrilled to share that moment of journey with her. To stand on a road with someone who feels like they are entirely alone in the world. To populate a barren land.

I felt like a 'grand pa' sought out for a moments reflection.

She thanked me for my time.

And, in due course, I thanked God for my life.

6 comments:

Belinda said...

I have had cause to thank God for your life too, more often than you know.

It's a strange journey, isn't it? Often we don't know the reasons or the whys until such a moment as you had last week and we suddenly find ourselves thankful; thankful for hurts we would never have imagined being sources of healing.

Mieke said...

To what Belinda writes I'd like to add his: the fact that hardship can take such turns and even appear to have been "useful" or "necessary", seen from a long perspective, increases my belief that human nature is so complicated that we can hardly understand how it can be so succesfulin working towards some kind of equilibrism.

Anonymous said...

You know Dave, I've often thought that it would be wondeful, and this is not meant to be morbid, for people to pass over from this life, to be greeted with a standing ovation.And I think it would often be unassuming people who'd blush at the recognition afforded them. I don't think things are always clear from our day to day perspective,but I often think that it is just not obvious how much we are admired for what we do from unseen forces.It does keep me going, this philosophy, whether its screwy or not, because gee, there'd be an awful lot of people in the afterlife who,if asked what they'd done, would have to answer" well, um, shopped a lot, had face-lifts,kept up with fashion and travelled a lot". We do choose our paths to a certain extent, and having been dealt a difficult card,how we rise to the occasion says a lot about ourselves.Ultimately as you and others have commented, we end up thinking, thank-you for the opportunity to prove myself capable in this particular challenge. Thanks Dave, for your life, your challenges, your strength and this blog which means a lot.I hope this comment doesn't sound silly, as I know these beliefs aren't everybodies, but I so strongly feel our society values a lot of the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Hugs Dave, from p.t.

lina said...

it's as much about the journey as it is the destination.....I keep thinking that one out trying to come to terms with it.
I too am thankful that my journey has included you.

Joyful Fox said...

Dave,

I am so grateful for your wisdom and insight and vulnerability in sharing here. To have the courage to be 'real', in spite of the pain, to share even when it isn't 'nice', to offer acceptance to those who have experienced rejection, somehow makes the journey worthwhile.

I am glad to be on the journey with you, even in the written word. I look forward to the day when we meet again face to face. Now, with your recent picture, I will remember you, even if you don't remember me.

Elizabeth McClung said...

I'm glad you wrote about your feelings about the years of being 'out there' and feeling alone. It was good and honest. I appreciate that. I can relate to an inch of the miles you travelled but I'm still glad you wrote about it.

The oddest thing though, literally EVERYONE I have talked to in disability services knows the name Dave Hingsburger. People at disability employment, a woman on the phone sending me a computer with Dragon 9, I said, "I don't know if you know him, but Dave Hingsburger is in Vancouver" and she is "Dave is here? I saw him in a seminar X years ago, he's here! Really!" There is an odd excitment in the voice, in every voice who I told that yes, Dave had come to the west coast. So, maybe it doesn't all flow back to you but geez do a lot of people know your name.