A Conversation

I had one of those strange nights where I came awake at about 3:30 AM and found myself unable to get back to sleep. Finally at a little past four, I put on my coat and headed for a local all-night restaurant for a coffee-and. 

A few minutes after I sat down with a cup of coffee and a carrot muffin, a woman approached my table and asked if she could sit with me... I told her OK. She was young... mid to late twenties. she asked, 'You're not going to be mean to me, are you?' I was able to reassure her that I wasn't. 

I wound up buying her a coffee and a strawberry yogurt, and we sat and talked for nearly an hour. This was just a lonely human being, willing to reach out to a stranger for company... something needed but all-too-rare in this world nowadays. She had been psychiatrized, and she told a little of the voices and visions she was experiencing. she seemed worried that I might judge her on the basis of what she was saying; label her 'crazy,' or 'sick'... I told her that her experiences and perceptions were real to her, and that's all that mattered... that no one had the right to pass judgement. She talked a little bit about growing up in western Canada and that she wanted to go back, but didn't have any money, about going to a Catholic school; stuff like that. My heart had gone out to her... she had seemed so sad and so shy when she came to my table. When we parted company, she was laughing and seemed much happier. 

I find myself thinking back to all the times when I longed desperately for any kind of caring human contact... and almost despaired of ever finding it. Then I think of those times when someone was able to make the time for me... and the difference is like day and night. If I can do this myself for someone in some small way... these little things form the essence of community and healing. 

There is a valuable lesson to be learned from experiences like this.