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?"
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.