I was working on a book chapter on the victimization of people with intellectual disabilities and how to effectively help people overcome, or at least master, the resultant feelings of self blame, worthlessness and powerlessness. To get myself started I needed to do a literature review on some specific areas of abuse and trauma. I always find lots of stuff I didn't know, often find myself pausing to read some powerful pieces of research, and of course I get sidetracked into other factors about abuse in articles that aren't quite on the topic. Part of the reason I agree to write book chapters or journal articles is that the process requires me to spend time reading research and updating myself. This is good.
It's also depressing.
My hesitation in getting started on this chapter has been doing this review. I just didn't feel emotionally up to it - writing the chapter - no problem - but the review of the literature serves to substanitate the breadth and the depth of the problem. It's hard to look away from the computer screen and see the world as anything other than a place where people are hurt. Today I was reading, from a blog on abuse, a personal story that moved me literally to tears.
I reached into my wheelchair bag, laying on my desk, for a tissue. I heard the crinkly sound of a bag, not unlike a potato chip bag. I opened my bag to see what made the sound and found a bag of 'Triple Soothing Action' cough drops. I immediately flashed to the friendly face of the man in the theatre in Butler where I spent two days lecturing recently. I was at the very end of this horrid cough that's been going round and after break found this bag left for me by the fellow from the audience.
It was an act of pure kindness.
It wasn't expected.
But just seeing that bag, being reminded of the capacity for people to be kind was powerfully needed at that moment. Right at that moment.
It says that the cough drops are triple soothing but in fact, they can add one more, because today, it soothed my soul to have a tangible reminder that, while there are those in the world who hurt, there are also those who's hands offer gifts, not pain.