How do I try to share this with you, without sounding absolutely crazy? Well, here goes.
I was ask to volunteer some time today to perform a Zumba class to bring awareness to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton in the middle of Churchill Square. This society's main focus is to provide homes to the hundreds of homeless women and children Edmonton ( I later found out that the number one reason why women tragically chose to go back to prison is because of homelessness). The event went great - everyone seemed so into it and had a wonderful time. Throughout class, I would make comments that we need to take care of each other, that our high risk children and families need to have a voice among all this richness that surrounds us. That health is not only about, taking care of yourself and those you love, but it's also about taking care of each other, especially our most vulnerable.
It's hard for me to be downtown sometimes, to see such contrast - where there is so much, next to people who are every day, struggling to survive.
I noticed immediately this women about my age, center front who's smile and energy was so contagious, you soon forgot about her stained filled shirt and her tattered clothes. She stayed for the whole class, laughing and participating with all that she had. After class as people were coming up to me and talking, I caught a glimpse of her, so quietly waiting her turn. When they all left she walked up to me and said in a voice that held so much strength and pain in it "I am homeless... and I want to thank you for giving me this time to forget that I am." I was then, invited to look her straight into her eyes, her very soul for a minute and she quietly hugged me crying "you need to continue doing what you are doing - God bless you" She then turned to the other women who work for the Elizabeth Fry Society that were around me and repeated the same words, as she was wiping her eyes with her shirt.
Here comes the crazy part - at the time when I looked into her eyes and she hugged me crying, I felt an exchange of energy I have NEVER felt before - I don't even know yet how to describe it, it was a calmness attached to it. It felt like a gift was just given to me. A gift of maybe strength or better understanding, more compassion or maybe, just two women who for some time didn't think about anything but loving life and drawing strength from each other. I don't know yet what that gift was but I feel a need to say "Thank you dear friend, downtown, for what you gave to me today, I will never forget it."