As I sat watching the snow fall yesterday and listening to christmas music……I thought ….how blessed I am to be able to have a home to find warmth and comfort and be safe! My body isn’t as light with health and physical strength as I used to have……..despite my body feeling like a block of frozen ice about to crack open in this extreme cold wintery weather……I delight in the knowledge of the joy, peace and Love that dwells Within. I even find so much delight when I see my little friend the squirrel/s running along the ledge of the fence and that brings on a smile on my face that could last most of the day!
Then, ……..I resonate with all those who are sufferring severely in this dreadful weather,my heart opens in compassion for the lonely(those who have lost loved and dear ones)the heartbroken,the disabled,the seniors,the sick,the poor,the homeless,the mentally challenged,victims of bully and hatred and anger and violence and yes…..all those women,children and victims of war-torn countries….how much of suffering they endure in the worst of terrorised circumstances and weather conditions and tormented by fear and lost of human dignity!
My Being bears their plight and sorrows and I breathe out sincere good wishes(prayers)for their safety and protection and end of suffering.
Most endearing to my heart is the remembrance of my time walking on the streets of Eastside downtown Vancouver especially so in the cold,windy,rainy and sometimes snowy times of the winter months where I would walk for 4-5 nights a week being with women(and men as well)who would ‘sell’and abuse their bodies,intoxicate themselves with heavy drug usage and have no inkling about life or death.These winter months are the worst for them….to stand in the cold and be drenched in rain/snow…..almost inhuman,how and what they subject themselves into just to make money to feed their cravings for drugs.
Underneath all that atrocities and sufferings….there is a human heart filled with a potential to open to Love in each of them as so with all of us.Although they might be condemned or judged for their own mistakes and faults and transgressions….we too share the same transgressions to a lesser,contained extent……….
They are mothers,wives, sisters,daughters,sons,fathers and loved ones,left downtroddened,homeless and forgotten…….most of them had scarred their bodies so grotesly…..most lost their teeth,their bodies ravaged by needle marks and scabs and infected wounds,some were beautiful(thru photos they kept)and now unrecognisable!
No matter what, Christmas season was painful for them …..the sadness of their separation from children and loved ones,owning up to their follies and mistakes but too caught up with the addictions,not being able to celebrate the festive season like anyone else……they talk of their unworthiness and self defeated low esteem and there are the hardened ones who would speak crudely of the Christmas festivities………..
As I walked ……tears would sometimes run down my cheeks….there was nothing I could do……..I brought along my senses of feeling and touch(hugs,a kiss,a hand to hold and caress),listening ear,my shoulders to cry on,a few words of comfort,my stilled presence and a quiet heart of compassion and courage to be there with them.I was there on the streets a few christmasses foregoing the celebrations with family and friends….It was not about heroics but the joy they gave me to allow my Heart to be fulfilled and be of use for this purpose of sharing with those who have not and left forgotten!
A particular Chhristmas day walk story quite a long few years ago while in my healthy body……a story of Alice(she had a history of violence and once I was almost assualted by her with a scissors).That christmas night,I remember her being saddened with not being able to see her children and missing Midnight Mass ….so I offered to take her to mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Rosary in Vancouver after I had completed my routine walk….she waited for me but was already high on drugs……..we arrived to a very packed church…….she wanted to go to the front,she said she wanted to see ‘Jesus’….so we went up to the nativity scene right close to the altar…..we sat on the floor……I noticed the archbishop was eyeing us….Alice was fidgetting and trying to reach into the crib…..I allowed her to be….then she simply fled the church,I couldn’t find her…..I drove home feeling love for myself for what I had done…..not being ashamed of myself for caring and showing kindness to a ‘lost soul’.I was empowered by the joy of being human towards another human being for standing up to courage,for not being bothered if we were properly attired for midnight mass(cause this was a time when we proudly dressed up)…….I was enriched and nurtured for being spontaneous in Love for having been unafraid to do something beautiful for another….simply to say that …..”I know you are broken and high on drugs but I care and want to show you how important still you are!”
In writing this of my human experience in the face of pain and suffering……..my heart remains open to the preciousness of Life and Love…..true religion is found in the Heart of every human being……the utilisation of Love within that vessel is the utmost importance in our lives as sentient Beings……all else are secondary…. how we must first learn to open our hearts to ourselves…when we care for our being,body mind and spirit….when we become aware of how our lives affect others(so as not to make others suffer foolishly, selfishly,needlessly and conditionally) ……when we cherish the love for ourselves, our loved ones and others….we can give peace and goodwill from our hearts to the suffering in the world.And it doesn’t matter if our hearts have to go thru hurts and brokeness over again….it will only become tender and resilient….just as meat have to be beaten to become tender….so will our hearts……if the heart is afraid of taking a beating….it will harden and be of no use to even those who are close to us…..how would we help the world?