Do I matter?
This is a story of a time in my life I really felt that I did not matter.
It was in 2004 and I had been on my own for a couple of years. I divorced after 25 years of marriage. I really had no idea what was in store for me but I knew I had to leave the marriage because my spirit was dying and I could see the effects of the dysfunctional marriage on my children. I was always someone who did things for everyone else and that was how I gaged my existence. My identity was outside of myself.
I wanted to experience giving without expecting in return.
My life was so full of busy and I never felt that I mattered. I felt what I did was making a difference but I needed to matter to someone as me.
I decided to visit the “Drop in Center” here in Calgary. I made an appointment with Yolanda at the time who was a counsellor there. I asked Yolanda to give me two scenarios of two homeless people a woman and a man. She described each person and I was attracted to help David, the reason being he was in a 2 year recovery program for addicts. The woman was not. At that moment I asked Yolanda if I could help David directly. I would bring cash to her monthly and she would choose how the money would be used to help him. I remember leaving the center that day very clearly. I had a rush of constant chills going up and down my spine driving home that day. I knew this was a good thing to do and I felt really good.
I continued to go once a month for about 4 months. Yolanda would tell me that she bought him some boots or a bus pass. Whatever he needed to keep him on track. She reported that he was doing well after being in the program for about a year. He was working now and he had a goal to go and visit his family at the end of the year in Vancouver for Christmas.
David lost his family due to a cocaine addiction. He had two children.
I loved to hear about his progress but something was missing for me. I asked her if it would be Ok if we wrote to each other, of course I was called “Angel” to which he addressed the letters to. This was a profound experience for me because I felt what it was like to be him through his words. David was actually a very good writer he had lovely handwriting and was articulate. I never offered advice I only offered the space for him to express his feelings.
There were many times I would read the letters over and over again. I would cry so much and wonder how someone that had experienced all this pain of the addiction and have no one. You see his parents were addicts and therefore his wife as well. The darkness and hopelessness was at times overwhelming. I really began to see the things in my life that were causing me grief were small compared to this. Many words were expressed of his gratitude to me. I want to say I cannot tell you how much that meant to me but I will, it made a huge difference to me to make this kind of a difference in one man’s life. We continued to write letters for the next few months.
Yolanda began to share with me the profound difference she was seeing in David. He was making great progress and was soon ready to leave for Vancouver. Time was moving quickly and it was the end of the year. David was finally going to Vancouver to see his children.
He was given permission to visit and spend Christmas dinner with his children.
I met Yolanda and wanted to give more than 100.00 because I received a bonus at work. I gave 300.00 to Yolanda. She purchased some bus passes and grocery coupons for David for his stay in Vancouver.
The letter I received from David after Christmas was one of the most beautiful moments in my life. David shared that he spent the whole amount of grocery coupons on Christmas dinner that he surprised his family with. He said it was a very long time that he has ever felt so proud to provide. David has since recovered and was able to get a job to be near his family.
Yolanda and I met for one last time. We talked about the journey that we all went through.
There was a moment that no words could describe this experience that either of us could express. We just looked into each other’s eyes and felt something special.
That was when I knew I mattered.
This gave me the connection to a bigger part within and to the outside world.