She stood, shyly, in front of me. A quiet, shy woman, unused to being the center of attention. She had come up to do a role play during a workshop for people with disabilities. I was instructing her that when her time came in the role play she was to raise one of her hands up, classroom style. She looked a bit confused. I reached out and pointed to her right hand saying that she could put that one up in the air.
A tiny voice, one not used to speaking up, said, 'no'.
Then in a tiny act of assertion she pointed to the other hand. This was the one that she would choose to use.
I felt honoured.
Let me count the reasons why:
She felt safe with me to say 'no'.
She knew she could make her own choice and it would be respected.
She understood that her decision would rule out my request.
I have come to understand that my character is attested to, not by what I do, but what people feel free to do around me. I have come to understand that little moments of trust are what life is all about. I have come to realize that we need to pause and acknowledge when those, who have been dismissed by others, take the risk to 'be' who they are, to 'live' outside their fear, to 'speak' personal choices. These are moments of honour. Deep honour.
It passed by in a second.
It still reverberates, like the distant chime from freedom's bell, within my heart.