I slumped in the oversized chair and closed my eyes. I couldn't bear to look at the kindness etched on their faces. It hurt too much. I was used to fighting to get my needs met....fighting against people who used me...hurt me for their own purposes.
You can come here anytime...no questions asked. And.help yourself to anything in the fridge or cupboards. I sat frozen in that chair....hardly able to breathe.....shivering even though it was warm in the room. It was because of their kindness.....their gentle words...it stunned me....took me off guard. I had no idea how to react to it.
Kindness - it was something I hadn't known.....something I didn't understand. I sat in that chair holding myself rigid...on guard...suspicious of this couple who didn't want to take anything from me. Instead....they just wanted to show kindness.
Kindness - it felt strange....painful. I knew how to fight people who wanted something from me. I had become an expert at biting, kicking, running. I knew nothing about staying...nothing about accepting kindness.
It's taken me a long time to trust the goodness from others. Even now, when I'm really tired....I can feel my guard go up....anticipating someone wanting to hurt me.
That couple ran a drop in centre. They never put any pressure on me to do anything. They simply let me come and go whenever I wanted. When it was cold out and I had nowhere to go, they let me stay there. I couldn't talk. I couldn't even say thank-you. They accepted that....and never forced me to say or do anything....They never asked for anything in return. I've never forgotten them. I've never forgotten what they did for me. I don't know if they even knew the effect they had. I hope they did.
And there were others - a social worker, a cop, this guy who worked in a kitchen in a restaurent....when I wanted to give up...they reached out and touched me with their kindness.
I want to live my life paying forward the kindness that had been given to me...the kindness that made a difference.