The day before a big lecture on self esteem and the effect our practice has on it, on the need for just a dose of kindness in our service, Joe and I were travelling up to the bank. On our way, we stopped at Sunrise Records to see if their shipment of World Cup jersey's had arrived yet. We want to pick up an Italian one for a friend really into soccer. Anyways, as I was pulling towards the door a woman accompanying a man with a developmental disability was coming out the door.
I saw them and slowed down, Joe pulled over to the side to let them pass. Instead, she flung her arm out blocking the path of the fellow she was with. He stumbled into her arm and then looked at her startled. She caught his gaze and explained to him, and the world passing by, why she had stopped him.
"If anyone could walk straight into someone, it's you."
A quiet acquiescence to the fact that he was a stumble bum, and a dumb one at that. He just accedes to her opinion of him.
It was an awkward moment because we had naturally made room for them, she had forcibly made room for us. We were all stalled. Finally to break the spell, Joe just moved forward.
I looked at the man's face as he and his staff then came by me, parked to the side. I swear, his shoulders were more stooped and his face seemed to reflect the 'stupidity' that she had placed at the core of his being. Like his eyes gave up any sense of awareness. His smile gave up any sense of humour. And his bearing gave up any sense of dignity.
Do we, all of us, ever understand the power of words.
Not only to hurt.
But to twist and bend and break people to fit a mold into which, as they were not born, they must be crushed.
Thoughtless spoken, forever felt.