Week 18 – The Practice

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    After a very stressful week of trying to balance entrepreneurship with motherhood, civil compliance with educator, IT manager with academe, I found myself alone in my car bawling my eyes out and running out of Kleenex, fast. I had just drove seven city blocks from my semi-annual thyroid picture day (well technically it’s the thyroid bed because I don’t have a thyroid anymore, but that’s a whole other story…), when the water works erupted in an emotional tidal wave of stress, frustration, anxiety, fear and helplessness. 

    How in the name of god am I going to get through all of this? 

    I don’t know why I did what I did, but I picked up the phone and called the first person who came to mind. A friend yes, but we haven’t know each other that long nor do we really know each other that well, yet there is this sacred respect and connectedness in our relationship that is unlike any other. Answering her phone in her usual bubbly and optimistic nature, her tone quickly changed to that of empathy, care and concern once she sensed I was not ok as I struggled to respond. Instinctively she knew what to say and when to say nothing. She let me weep, holding silent space on the telephone line, as the flood of tears rushed down my face like the tidal bore surging under a full moon. Even with miles between us, I felt safe, protected, and cared for as if wrapped in a supernatural hug. 

    I can’t say I believe in the supernatural, but I do know I have been ‘rescued’ a few times in my life. The first time it happened was when I was in grade primary when a young woman came to my aid after school one day as I aimlessly walked in the direction of home after missing the school bus. I remember so vividly the heavy worrisome sobs heaving in my chest as I looked helplessly at her through the unrolled window as she leaned across the passenger seat. Her wholehearted and genuine gaze eased my fears of being lost and never seeing my family again. Gently buckling my seatbelt across my lap, she let me lead the way to where I knew to go without knowing how, until we pulled up to my after school care home. Retelling my mom and dad about the lady and the experience later that evening, my mother remarked that the woman must have been an angel. 

    Years later, again on foot, this time on the darkening city streets of Valencia in Spain, another messenger came to my aid. Weary and hungry from a long day of travel, I trudged along when an elderly woman working bent over her front gardens spotted me. I obviously looked worse than I thought because when our eyes met, again I felt an immediate and honest rush of humanitarianism and I knew instantly I was in safe and good hands. I couldn’t understand a word this delightful grandmotherly woman said but gauged from her actions that she was concerned about a young woman with a heavy load on her back walking the streets as night fell. Guiding me into her home she led me to a modest room with a single bed and offered me tea and a traditional treat before leaving me to rest for the night. 

    Call them Saviours, Guardians, Holy Beings or Earth Angels, I believe that there are those who come into our lives at just the right moment who do just the right things, without necessarily knowing why, but who know in their hearts that they are to help. These humans are like light, love and peace anchors that serve as a reminder that there always is an altruistic someone out there and it is our work to learn when it is right, safe and appropriate to surrender to divine intervention and be willing, trusting and instinctually attuned to the empathetic gift of support and generosity.