My office overlooks the C-Train platform at CityHall. Almost everyday, there is some sort of altercation on the platform. Highschool kids mixing it up. Someone trying to avoid the Transit police. A rider trying to be first on the train.
Yesterday it was two women yelling at each other right below my window. Their conversation was peppered with F this. F you. F that. They gesticulated and shouted as people moved further and further away, or as one mother did with her child, covered their ears.
From above, there wasn’t much I could do to change this playing out of our human condition, though I did want to storm down and suggest to one man that his yelling at the two women to SHUT the F Up was not helping. But the C-train arrived, people got off, people got on, and the two women disappeared.
And I wondered…
For those two women, both of whom appeared visibly homeless and street engaged, what if we heard the pain beneath their shouting at one another? What if we felt their sorrow?
Perhaps, instead of hearing the expletives and standing in judgement, turning our backs or covering our ears or yelling back at them, we chose to Step Closer and Listen Deeply?
What if underneath their words, what we heard was…
I’m in pain.
So am I.
I don’t want to live like this.
How do I make it stop?
I don’t know. I can’t remember it being any other way.
I’m just going to keep yelling because nobody cares.
I feel so lost.
I feel so hopeless.
I feel so alone.
I feel invisible.
I feel hopeless.
Nobody sees me.
Ain’t true. I see you.
Nobody hears me.
That ain’t true either. I hear you.
You are me.
I am you.
And what if in that moment of both women acknowledging they are each other, those of us around them called out, “You are me. I am you. We are here with you, not against you.”
And in that our calling out, they realized, WE Are Not Alone.
What if, in that moment they realized there are people willing to step into their pain and grief and sorrow and angst? That they are not alone in a broken circle of life, because we are here, together, circling them with love, in the same broken circle of life.
We are here with them. Not against them.
And what if, with one breath, we chose to let go of our judgments and instead say together, Me Too.
And in that affirmation, what if we chose to live from that place of connection knowing that for each of us, acknowledging our shared human condition gives us the power to step closer together.
In that shared space of our humanity, what if we build a community where the things that hold us apart are nothing compared to what brings us together — Love. Peace. Harmony and Joy.