Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Magic in Disaster

About a year ago, I started telling my story. I didn't know it at the time but, that day telling my story would change everything. I was asked to speak at a victim appreciation day at a men’s prison in Saint Joseph. I was slowly starting to face my fears and this was my biggest challenge so far. As I sat in front of 200 men waiting for my turn to speak I could feel my heart beating in my head.

I was introduced by a prisoner who was the leader of good behavior; I stepped up to the wooden podium and nervously started telling my story. The story I have shared with you all in my blogs. But, not even half way through I completely lost it. I started crying and turned away. As my advocate came to me with her arms open I buried my head into her shoulder, trying to collect myself. I had taken my chance to tell my story and turned it into a disaster. But, as I was trying to pull myself together I heard something amazing, Applause. My embarrassed tear filled eyes looked up to see an entire gymnasium full of men standing up with tears filling their faces, clapping. They all had their own victims; from thieves to murderers, from drugs dealers to gang members. Grown men who have done their fair share of wrong doings, were starting to understand and feeling compassion, for maybe the first time... in a victim.

It's no lie that child molesters and rapists do not get treated well from other prisoners. But, this was more than that. This might seem crazy but, it was like believing in magic your whole life and finally seeing it. To me, that's what real compassion is. In the midst of the disaster that I was working through, there it was, Magic. It hit me in the face and I realized that this is all worth it and I felt good. I felt like I was finally being heard.

After that day, I have taken compassion and I have made sure to show anyone who has been dealing with more than they think they can handle, that they can still find their worth. They can believe in that magic. Not from a wand or a story book but, from themselves, by telling their own stories. By me just listening and being there for them, even when their words come out all wrong and they can’t say a sentence without crying. Showing compassion can save lives. It can change everything and without it, there is no magic.

"A moment of compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life."