I Never Met A Stranger
(for Susan)

Once upon a time but nine years back, a complete stranger, now a cherished acquaintance, got word that I was stranded of a simple possibility of healing at a very difficult moment in my life. It was I now who was temporarily homeless and without sure family to count on. I also hadn’t much rest nor had I the sanctity of a change in underwear or a giving shower in days. Said person had no focus of interest in knowing why I suffered. It was enough for her that I did. A reason for kindness to her didn’t require any defense.

It was my friend’s mother who I knew of but who I had never met nor seen throughout the orchestra of an angel-like performance choosing to go out of her way to reinstate me to a forgotten power of love. That she sewed fine-point this way (meaning quite anonymously and in her own home) actually increased a greater sanctity of warmth to my heart. What followed of unconditional kindness succeeded in shattering my belief system in its entirety and completely changing my confidence course.

“My mom wants to help you. Let’s go up.” My friend escorted me from her basement work studio through her mom’s home corridors leading upstairs. When a door opened for me to a magical hotel-like guest room of a lush and serene whiteness, I sighed out in awe. In that fairy-tale page of an instant I could feel so much of the brokenness in me quickly stitch to a stronger chord and already more bravely heal. The healing in that room was pregnant and palpable.  In such presence of care, I felt my renewed heart could birth worlds.

A beautiful handwritten note graced the bed. “Take as much time as you need. Breathe. This room is now yours. Leave your clothes on the bed. I will care for it. Sleep some if you need. Relax. You are you. xx”  I sunk with love into this permission.

I welcomed her heart into mine as I stepped into that needed hot shower. I felt my humanness again. Through the glass I cried at seeing the selections of perfume, body lotion, scented oils, shampoo, hair dryer, a cozy heated bathrobe, and towels galore. A teddy bear smiled to the flowered cup by the steeping teapot with herbal variants set by the queen bed. Every aspect of room wrapped me in a space of safe heart bliss. I soon opened my eyes and went to dry my hair. It was magic to meet the gentle touch of freshly laundered and perfectly folded sweet smelling clothes at my return.

Like a seraph, and without vision or sound, she came to restore my belief in humanity and reinstate me to the warm bed of my own resilience and faith that I will always be watched over to best find my way. More, she showed me how strong the simplest power of an unconditional kindness is in blighting a heart pain by lifting it to something vastly curative and how simple kindness could be beautifully done. I was quite taken by the mother-daughter weaving of a comforting love and all the threads of care. It healed what I could do in mine.

I’m not broken and I’m not a mess – I suddenly felt my heart sing – none of us are! —I’m just a whole person trying to find my way in a broken world. Confidence is my birthright, she reminded, and something I could bravely reclaim. In her lack of judgment, too, she also had me grasp more challenging matters. I would be a lie withholding my truth of kindness to myself with anyone, and this would include even people who have deeply hurt me.  So I have some difficult relationship, and so, let’s keep giving love. And most, she had taught me that we do not have to be perfect for another to receive a perfect time.

The family of strangers had again come to restore me. I was actually mesmerized that she had done so little (in her opinion) that was really so big (in mine). I can’t leave without saying something,” I told my sweet friend. “You don’t have to thank me,” she said when she at last presented herself at the door. “But I do,” I said. “No, not really, “ the angel said. “Why abandon anyone when you can just show a simple act of love?”

Like a light force, the kindness dignity I shared with Charles came flooding back, and so, too, the rainbow man. When I at last met her and was introduced, I intuited her heart was able to extend so beautifully because she came from a space in which she was broken open many times over, too. And I began to thank the fact that I also was, and likely would continue to be.

I understood then that the only truth to all these events in my life or anyone’s is to find the experience of kindness within it and make the lamp shine out. In life, we are both givers and we are receivers, if we so choose. The opportunity is there. I welled up in tears and gave her a smile and a hug. I blessed again the words of Blanche Dubois and I vowed within to continue to build on such an uncommon kindness. For the first time in my life, I clearly understood my truth and my purpose.

signaturePhotography by Marina Mashaal

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