I admit it. I am a hermit. I like my own company, and enjoy hiking with my golden, Jesse. I rarely go out in the evenings, and my PTSD and depression have put the kibosh to socializing. I was a party animal when I drank, but the party never stopped, and the mornings after involved stories from my husband and friends about my antics. I quickly acquired a reputation for getting blasted-cocaine helped for awhile, but eventually even that couldn’t keep me straight.
Don’t get me wrong, I have amazing friends. (See Won’t You Come Over Valerie.) We do lunch and breakfast and hikes-but they are rare. Everyone is so busy, and most of my peeps are employed. I suffer from a litany of disorders, from OCD to PTSD. I have ADHD, and severe anxiety. I am a recovering alcoholic who was addicted to opioids as well. After being given Vicodin for a bad tooth for a year, I developed one hell of an addiction. I now take Suboxyne, which saved my life but is very, very hard to quit. I have a doctor who, while he is one heck of a good man, has no business prescribing the drug. He has no idea what the withdrawals are like, and, while weaning me off of the drug, skipped two steps in the process. Weeks and weeks of lethargy, depression and stomach upset (to name a few) followed. I am now on the lowest dose possible, and actually feel grateful that I skipped the higher doses. In the Rooms, they say if you get through one day without a drink-well, it’s a miracle. I have learned to be kinder to myself, and life is good. I am unable to work for others, but I own a floral shop called The Vintage Rose. As I had not one customer last year, I have made it a point to advertise, work hard, and prepare for the end of May, when I will reopen my shop-will this year be any different? I like to think so.
What is my reason for optimism? Jesus. You see, God has given us free will to make choices on our own. The one mitigating factor that was missing last year? Prayer. I have a Reiki Master who has shown me what true spiritual healing can do for one’s life. I am in a completely different place than I was last year at this time. I have a positive outlook and believe that good things are coming. The last time I worked, I was doing private duty nursing and the husband of the woman I cared for was boorish, abusive and at times, downright cruel. I quit at Christmas, only to have his power of attorney beg me to come back. There were other issues as well: the schizophrenic daughter whose malicious intentions became evident the day she knocked me into the washing machine and almost dislocated my shoulder. She would hide the pine sol or put sanitary napkins in the laundry, and even though there were two other nurses employed at the home, the finger was always pointed at me. I walked out the day the husband scolded me in front of the new cleaning lady.
“We have a few bones to pick with you. We found a sanitary napkin in the laundry basket, and we know it was you. Mommy’s Christmas pajamas are missing, and frankly, who else could have taken them?” I found said pajamas in the pajama drawer, and, if it hadn’t been for my foul mood, almost laughed when I heard them say, “Maybe we should ask her where the pajama drawer is?” I took care of his wife and daughter for a year and a half. I baked, cleaned, cooked, accompanied them on doctor’s appointments and did their grocery shopping on occasion. It was very, very difficult for me to leave the wife, as I believe she was abused and only responded to me, who treated her like she deserved to be treated-with dignity, love and respect.
Today I pulled into the Turkey Hill to fill my gas tank. I had just come from weeding the gardens at my church. I looked like a poor soul as I walked in to pay. As I handed the cashier the cash, I heard a small voice beside me.
“Your boots are untied. You don’t want to trip.” I looked down to find a complete stranger tying my boots.
“Oh my word, you don’t have to do that,” I stammered.
Not only did she tie my one boot, she retied my other. Overcome by emotion, I began to cry. The world is a scary place at times, and I am rarely on the receiving end of random acts of kindness. She took one look at me, grabbed me by the shoulder and steered me outside.
“Why are you crying?”
I went on to explain that people, in general, suck. I had no idea I was harboring these feelings, and I was shocked by the words I spoke next.
“People can be cruel. You don’t know what could happen these days, it’s such a cold, cruel world. And you took the time out of your day to tie my BOOTS? Who are you?”
She went on to say her name was Kim. I took a good look at her, and what I saw almost pushed me over the edge, into a full blown melt down. She was older, unkempt, dried blood on her fingers, her clothing ragged and torn. She may have walked there, as I didn’t see a vehicle. She was the kind of person I pity, one of the lost souls I see on a daily basis. I handed her my business card and thanked her again for her kindness.
“Just look at this stunning card. I am sure you have a lovely shop. And look at you, why you are beautiful, just beautiful.”
And just like that she vanished. You can call yourself Kim, or Tim, or whatever name you fancy, I thought to myself. I know who you are. And from the bottom of my heart, I thank you. Kind words from a stranger? Or Jesus in disguise?