“I would like to write the story of your life.” I asked.
“I don’t have a story, what do you want to write about?” she said with a warm smile.
“You have had an extraordinary life full of major challenges since childhood. You have been a source of inspiration in my life and everyone who knows you.”
“It is not me. It is God.”
“Your faith helped you through your life lessons. I know of many others who have not felt that connection and would benefit from hearing your story.”
“Why don’t you write about God?”
“I am a story teller. There have been millions of volumes of books written about God. Those who believe read them and those who don’t, won’t read them, and the separation remains. You reflected to me that my mission in this lifetime is to connect, bring people together. Your faith may open the heart and soul of many.”
She paused, thinking, “You know I am a very private person.”
“Yes, I would like to share only the message of your life.”
“Let me think about it.”
My mind took me to about thirty years ago when I met her at work. We worked for a County Agency serving the most wounded people of our community with chemical dependency and mental illness. Naturally, a lifetime of drug use results in serious health issues, loss of family and loved ones, loss of job, home, and transportation. Once a person is dependent on a substance, the addict is likely to do whatever to support the habit resulting in legal issues. They become self-destructive and zap the energy from those around them. The rate of burn-out is high for counselors.
I was new to the field and was informed by experienced counselors the only treatment that works is “Tough Love” aiming at breaking the denial and client’s manipulative defenses and building them up again. I was told that my illusion of being gentle with “criminals” would result in burn-out in less than a year.
I felt lost and confused, asked for guidance, for a mentor, a guide and the universe responded. She welcomed me to the clinic with a warm smile. After almost three decades, I still remember her kind eyes as it was yesterday, reassuring me. When one is new in a work setting, everything is a question. She took me under her wing. I watched her being loving, caring, compassionate and extremely firm in a gentle way with clients. Bingo, I had found my guide in the field of chemical dependency. I did not know yet that she was going to become a life mentor to me, a soul sister and a spiritual guide.
I watched her closely in action. She was as graceful as a swan, elegant like a queen, nurturing as a loving mother and an effective parent for the client; patiently teaching them every step of growth and living life. Most of our clients came from no structure, basically surviving life by doing whatever they had to do.
She was the bilingual Spanish speaking counselor. We were providing services to men who were convicted of domestic violence. I observed this petite, beautiful woman in a room filled with macho Hispanic males with anger and chemical dependency issues.
Within weeks, theses clients having been treated with respect, dignity, integrity and compassion started healing; being able to express their inner pain.
I witnessed many times clients who were going to be discharged from the program for violating the rules and being disrespectful while they had a chance to be in her groups, transformed.
Working with her, I observed daily miracles right in front of my eyes. The males in her group changed from violent, alcoholic, abusive men to loving, caring and thoughtful family men. They brought their families to meet her at the clinic and left with a world of gratitude.
She had a co-dependency group for Latina women. Many of whom were survivors of childhood traumas, having lost a sense of self-worth and self love. Even coming to the clinic was a miracle. The group was crowded with women who had been mistreated all their lives. Within months, the Goddesses gradually emerged from the wounded souls. The smiles came back to broken hearts.
I attended every group of hers I could, watching her closely. Her smile was radiant. Her eyes were kind and welcoming. Clients seemed to be at ease and safe with her. She is the loving, nurturing mother they all longed for. I witnessed clients sharing about their acts of cruelty under the influence of alcohol, feeling shame, unable to forgive themselves. She always offered a way out with dignity, a practical solution to restore the lost love back. It reminded of me of Gandhi’s life; when he fasted to bring awareness to Hindu and Muslim war. A Hindu man came to him in anguish. He said he knows he is going to hell for killing a Muslim boy. Gandhi suggested a way out; to find a Muslim orphan boy, raise him as your own with the Muslim faith.
She offered such solutions on daily basis.
I asked myself where does she get this deep wisdom. She must have been raised by spiritual parents with extraordinary wisdom. I wanted to learn as much about the becoming process of this Divine Woman as I wanted to know about Gandhi’s life.
“Please share about your mom with me. I asked.”
She had a big smile with a touch of sadness. My mother was a beautiful loving woman. I remember her singing at home. She had a beautiful voice. I lost her at age of five to breast cancer.
I was shocked with my own assumption.
“What do you remember of her?”
“Not that much. She loved beauty. I was her last child. I had reddish hair like hers. She would dress me in beautiful clothes. Looking back, I feel she was highly intuitive. She was most loving to me. I wonder if she knew she was going to leave soon.”
“I have seen her photo in your home. It feels as her eyes are communicating. Do you remember her being ill? I wonder what was your understanding of her illness at that tender young age.”
“I don’t remember much, she did not complain. As an adult, I understand she must have been experiencing deep pain.”
“You have had major heath issues in your life since young age. I have not heard you ever complain of pain. Remember when I came to see you in the hospital after an operation? I was amazed you were making the nurses laugh as they wheeled you into the room. Where do you get your strength and your sense of humor?”
“It is faith. After the loss of our mother, my father was unable to take care of the children, sent my siblings to my mom’s home country to stay with relatives. He placed me in a convent because I was too young.”
“How was the experience of being in a convent? I can’t imagine, suddenly being away from your family and all of your loved ones, all alone in a new environment.”
“When I was four years old, I went to the Bible classes with my older sister. I was too young to be a student but Mon Senior let met attend the class. One day, there were going to give a prize to those who answered the questions correctly. They would put the names in a hat and take a name randomly. The prize was a picture of Jesus. I wanted to have that photo so badly. When the teacher asked question, I would put my little hand up hoping she would call on me. My hand was up for every question. She was not calling on me because I was not considered a “student”. I think she was inspired by my enthusiasm. She looked at Mon Senior and asked. He smiled and said yes. I answered the question and my name was placed in the hat. I loved Mon Senior. He was kind and smiled at me. It was time for the drawing. My heart was beating fast. I folded my hand in prayers and closed my eyes. The teacher picked a name and it was mine!
I jumped with joy. That was perhaps the most precious gift of all in my whole life. The teacher hesitated for a second. The students were disappointed yet Mon Senior said I had won the prize.
On the way home, my sister said why didn’t you tell me the answers. You are not even a student, so she wanted me to give her my prize. I told her the picture was given to me and I feel the photo of Christ became my best friend and lifetime companion.”
“Looking at your life and many major health challenges, I have felt you have been guided and watched over, all your life.”
“Yes, I have.” Her smile was louder than any word.
“This journey has been extremely painful.”
“It is through painful life lessons that we grow spiritually. How can one come to the light without experiencing the darkness?”
“You have experienced physical pain related to health issues since a young age; what do you make of it?”
“I don’t question my life challenges. I try to do the best I can with my life. I have asked for a life of service and feel grateful for having been able to serve. I remember all of my clients. I may not see them again yet the memory is well and alive.”
“I have worked with clients who had Fibromyalgia and went on total disability. How do you manage a cluster of lifetime chronic pain?”
She smiled again patiently repeating herself like a Master.
“You have seen movies of the life of Christ and crucifixion. He was severely beaten, tortured and crucified to bring a message of healing. We are not our physical body. We are spirits. I am inspired by his life and by his love for humanity. He is my best friend. He is with me at all times. Do you think my joint pain can stop me from my calling in life?”
Tears are rolling, tears of joy and gratitude for having her in my life. I have an Earth Angel night in front of me; a healer who has touched the heart and souls of generations of families for a lifetime.
I feel the world must know about her as we know about Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela.
Maybe, one day she may choose to share her life story.