When Love Walks Among Us

I am walking tonight- solo, as the Two Youngest have a friend over and Husband is on duty back on the home front. I miss my walking partner on nights like this. Nights when it feels I am the Lonesome Isolated- walking when the rest of the world is doing more important things, living out more exciting plans than I.  When the rest of the world is organizing and doing things and gathering in places and spaces- making plans that I have not been privy to. Having fun being connected and together.  All but me: I walk alone.  And so tonight, feet slap pavement sounding loudly while hearts are feeling a tad bit blue and rather lonely.

It must be awful to feel lonely day in and day out.

I called my friend later and checked in about an activity our children are both involved in tomorrow. And after I tell her how happy I am that her daughter Zoe* has taken my own daughter under her wing, now that she has arrived a full-fledged member of intermediate school, my friend happens to mention something to me off the cuff. Something I find interesting in light of my feelings tonight.  Here’s how the conversation went down.

She asks me first if I have heard the name Charissa* come up in conversation when talking with Daughter. No, I say. Oh?  Well Charissa has been hanging out with the girls too, she says (proceeding to tell me that Charissa is new to the school this year and that the girls had noticed her alone over lunch time). She continues to tell me that her daughter Zoe*- the same one that has taken care of my own dear one- took the initiative to go over to this young adult sitting by herself in the cafeteria and invite her to sit with her and her friends, one of which is Daughter. My friend mentions the fact that Charissa has a shaved head on one side and a couple different colors of neon framing her head on the other- not someone easy to mix in a group of unfamiliar faces. Maybe some of the other kids didn’t see her as potential. But Zoe* did.  And because she did, Charissa isn’t lonely anymore.

All it takes is one rock to start an avalanche.

That’s all it takes. And in like manner, all it takes is one person to begin a cascade of love. That love and care and compassion and concern- it’s a free fall after that one encounter. Because other people notice and become caught up in the action. It’s hard not to when you realize the possibilities. In choosing to love, we lose fear. In choosing care and concern, we lose disinterest. In choosing compassion, we eliminate indifference. By choosing grace we say no to cruelty. What’s not to choose?

We all feel alone sometimes. But it makes my heart sing to know that there are human beings like Zoe out there in the world noticing the faces of people who need love. We all need love, but some of us need an infusion of love in the in-between moments of life even more than others. For me, knowing that there are Zoes in this world makes me want to join the effort, get in on the love cascade. So that love can fall like rain and the lonely can feel they are with their people.

We all are their people.

And in thinking about Zoe and Charissa and all the other lonely, isolated solitary people in this world- myself included by times: it helps to know. We are not alone. We never are.  Not when Love walks among us.  And because we know this, we can then reach out in love to others- turning their isolation into connectedness.  Turning their feelings of separation into togetherness.

Creating a love cascade from a single act of kindness.

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Can pain bring joy?

We often are witness to those painful aspects of life, those which bring hurt and damage to both the victim and the inflictor.  The former, intertwined in a web with the latter, woven around injury, only to be confounded by an inevitable tangle of lines and curves.  It can be hard at times to see the beginning point of this labyrinth, as often is the case when a web becomes intertwined with debris and the remains of the wreckage.  The symmetry vanishes.  Things fall apart.  Such is the way of life sometimes.

An anxious little one told me from the get-go that his belly was sore today.  Could he go home please?  I knew immediately why.  It was the “incident.”   The violation that occurred yesterday.  He was not overtly referring to what had happened, but a teacher knows these things without even being told.  I read fear all over his little face.  I could have sobbed myself for his loss of innocence, the free-spirited clarity of yesterday.  I wished for nothing more than to go back in time and reverse those memories, subliminal as they might be even at this given time.  For him, they were still there.  Below the surface.

How tender are one’s feelings, how easily bruised.  How raw our emotions, and how heartfelt the apologies that ensue.  To witness, one who hurts another and to see the aftermath, the collateral damage for both parties involved.  It is painful.  It hurts.  We all feel the searing knife.

Another little one sat in front of me later in the day and cried.  He, the inflictor.  He thought he would be sent away, never to return.  Someone would come and take him far away because he had acted wrongly.  It was then, when the tears welled up in his eyes and burst forth, that the dam of my heart too broke for this little one.  My Mommy heart wished to do nothing more than comfort and love away the pain, the memories.  I could not change the actions, the course of time already had unfolded and time can never be reversed.  The damage has certainly been done.  But now is a time for forgiveness and a new beginning.

This change inside, the pulling on my heart strings, surprised me.  Moments before, I had sensed no pity from myself toward this little one, and might I say I had even felt slight revulsion toward the child.  And yet, as I watched the course of an interrogation take on a life of its own, I experienced something akin to understanding.  This I understand: to be a pariah is to feel loneliness, fear and isolation.  To be without.   To be on the outside, yes, for some good reasons.  Yet there are decisions in our lives of which we are unable to fully have control.   Sometimes our path is already laid before us, it was chosen for us by others.  We can do not, but to take the path down which we were destined to sojourn, no matter how unfortunate that choice might be.