Just came from a rotten meeting-- the last of its kind I will have to attend, fortunately-- where I felt, as usual, unappreciated and unsupported. Usually this kind of stuff doesn't bother me, but seeing as this meeting was the culmination of two year's work, a kind word without prompting would have been appreciated.
As I was packing up my car, a flash of brown caught my eye, and there it was: an adolescent rabbit with a white tail, stopped in its tracks, watching me askance to see what I would do. I greeted the rabbit, as is my wont with small creatures, and stayed in place until the rabbit felt safe to hop into the brush. Took a little edge off my "Get me out of here!" silent scream.
A significant amount of power steering fluid had leaked out of my car during the meeting (ongoing problem I haven't had the money to fix). I could still go straight but sharp turns would require an amount of strength I felt lacking after the meeting. Unfortunately it takes two people to get my hood open, one to push down on the hood while the other pulls on the hood release, so a few miles down the road I pulled into Auto Zone to see if I could find a kindly person to help me. (Usually I ask my sister in the morning, but today she'd left the house before me.)
A small brown man was sitting in his car, waiting for someone to come out of the store, and I approached him and asked if he could do me a favor. Guardedly, he asked what the favor was, but when I explained, he was happy to help.
"No man should turn down a woman in need," he said.
I like your bumperstickers," he said, approaching my car. "Do you live in Amherst?"
"Springfield born and bred. In fact, I lived in that house, right over there, for thirty years."
"I just got out of rehab," he said. "I caught myself early and was lucky to get right in."
He insisted on adding the power steering fluid for me and we had a little political talk.
What he said:
-- These kids out there, dealing drugs, they barely know it's wrong.
-- Ludlow jail is so crowded, people were sleeping in the halls when I was there.
-- Why can't they sentence kids to school, or job training?
-- I've just got to keep praying, and I know I'll be all right.
-- I've got a good family, I never stole from them, and they're here for me.
I told him a bit about Arise, and he asked if we took people who have to do community service for the courts. I said we certainly did, and he should come down, meet everybody and sign up.
So now I'm at Arise, feeling much more centered, much more blessed, as I wait for everyone to arrive for our first tenants union meeting.