I resonate with all those who are suffering severely in this winter months.My heart opens in compassion for the lonely(those who have lost loved and dear ones,to those about to lose loved ones through terminal illnesses)the heartbroken,the disabled,the seniors,the sick,the poor,the homeless,the mentally challenged,victims of bully and hatred,anger and violence,to those women,children and victims of war-torn countries….how much of suffering they endure in the worst of terrorized circumstances.To all of us tormented by fear and our lives disrupted by the dreaded spread of covid-19.I sit in quietness and breathe in and out offering sincere good wishes(prayers)for all our safety and protection and end of suffering.May all beings be free of suffering.
Most endearing to my heart is the remembrance of my time walking on the streets of Eastside Downtown Vancouver especially so in this 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 some money to feed their various hardcore cravings. Underneath all those atrocities and sufferings….there is a human heart filled with a potential to open to Love.Although they might be condemned or judged for their own mistakes and faults and transgressions….we too share the same transgressions to a much more contained extent.They are mothers,wives, sisters,daughters,sons,fathers and loved ones,left downtrodden,homeless and forgotten.Most of them have/had scarred their bodies so grotesquely.Most lost their teeth,their bodies ravaged by needle marks and scabs and infected wounds,some were beautiful(thru photos they kept and shown to me)and now unrecognizable!No matter what, the Christmas season is always painful for them. The sadness they faced of being separated 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,they talk of their unworthiness and self-loathing, low esteem.There are also the hardened cynical 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 opened heart,to give hugs,a kiss,a hand to hold and caress,a listening ear,my shoulders to cry on,a few words of comfort,my stilled presence and a quiet inner compassionate disposition.
I share a story of Alice,known for her violence and had assualted someone with a pair of scissors.During my walk on the streets, I noticed Alice(after a while,I got to know most of them personally) with a big infected boil the size of a grape on one of her wrist.I offered to take her to emergency.She reluctantly agreed,so I told her to wait for me after I have completed my routine walk.She was waiting for me as I had told her surprisingly.As soon as she came into my car,she demanded for a certain sum of money.I calmly declined.She was escalating and kept demanding angrily, refusing to go to the emergency as planned.I saw in her hand she had a sharp-edged hairbrush.I remained collected and declined to give any money.She threatened to beat someone to get money, she also shouted that she was going to rob a store to get the money.By then, she was banging hard on the dashboard,screaming/shouting profanities insisting for money.I told her that she could do whatever she wanted to do but I am not going to give her any money to buy drugs.I gently reminded her that I cared for her and promised to take her to emergency to help treat her infected wrist.I was aware she had the hairbrush in her hand.Soon tears flowed down my face and she could see my sadness,that I was adamant to not give her money despite her fury.She stopped and walked out my car banging the door so hard upon exit.I drove away crying as usual for both our sufferings.
One day after a few weeks of not seeing her on the streets,she was standing at her usual corner and approached me,gave me a hug and a handmade rosary.What joy that brought to my heart.She later left for another location and I never saw her again.