Monday, March 2, 2009

Double Talk

I've said it before, haven't I? You just never know where you're going to be or when you're going to have some kind of influence on another person's life. That's why it's always best to be exactly who you need to be at all times. Circumstance should not be allowed to change the essential spirit within each of us. This idea was brought home to me again. It's a lesson that I never mind repeating - not that I'm too dense to learn it the first time around, but because we all need refresher courses now and again even in the things we know best. Even the most gifted people practice.

The other night I got a call from my roommate of a few weeks ago, Rhonda. She was (unreasonably) in jail for doing dumb stuff while under the influence of alcohol and getting caught at it. She is not a bad person, far from it. Her sense of humor was one of the things that kept me going. Both of us were usually unable to sleep and as such had many fine conversations long into the night. I read her stories out of the AA pamphlets that she brought back from "class," and we sang old Motown songs to each other, talked about family, about life, about everything. Her sense of sarcasm is rooted in the practical and it is an absolute delight (think in terms of a female version of Fred Sanford). Ultimately, she has a loving, giving soul.

During one of our late night chats, she said she knows what's right and knows how to do what's right, but when she gets in with the wrong crowd, it's all over with for her. She made mention of her Mother who lives in Baltimore and how great a mother she is. I told her that maybe she needed to go stay with her mom for a while and just be surrounded by that kind of love, rather than hanging with supposed good-time buddies who just get her in trouble. She reckoned I was right. The day I left I gave her a big hug. She had tears in her eyes. I told her again, "Go get loved up by your Mom and be good to you."

The other night she called at about 1:30 in the morning (she must think I still have insomnia - not far from the truth really). It was so good to hear her voice. She said she'd been doing very well, had been out for 3 days and was looking to get into a treatment program. She said, "I really want to get through treatment and then I'll be allowed to travel and go be with my Mom. What you said really meant a lot to me and I've been thinking hard about it."

I'm honored that my words carried such weight. I'm again stunned that I was at the right place (which felt so very wrong) at the right time (I wouldn't have met Rhonda otherwise). This is why I can't regret anything that happens. Take away one element and what gets missed? What crucial bit to the puzzle gets lost under the carpet? I'm not suggesting that anyone spend time in jail as a means to reaching out to others.... may the gods forbid. I'm suggesting that all of us count for something, no matter where we are, no matter what time it is. We count. We're here, not for a singular reason, but for reasons. I had a choice: I could have hidden in a corner in a despondent state, or I could gypsy up and be regular old Barb. I chose to rally the gypsy and it made all the difference, clearly not just to me, but to others as well.


Make your choice. Make your stand. Make it matter. Be the best you wherever you are.

there's only us
there's only this
forget regret,
or life is yours to miss
no other road
no other way
no day but today
~RENT: No Day But Today

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