The past 10 days have left me speechless.
There has been some great good, but I have also encountered some serious bad. In the presence of both, I have been left speechless.
Somebody read my blog, the one about the young woman whose mom was unable to visit her. They reached out and made a donation, so that I can organize transportation for the girl and her mom to be united.
A ‘thank you’ can't even express what I feel.
I was left speechless by the kindness and generosity.
I also received some bad news that I have to deal with. I can't even talk about it, because I am left speechless by the crazy situation and turn of events.
Sometimes there really are no words.
And although I am a woman who loves words, sometimes words aren't enough.
In Juvie I ask them to write.
I asked them to try and articulate what's inside.
Many times I see them sitting in front of the blank paper not knowing where to start.
“I don't know what to write,” one girl says.
I say to her, “Start with that. Start by writing, I don't know what to write.”
She looked at me and she said, “You're a little wacko. You know that, right?”
I smile back and don't say anything, because I know there’s some truth in what she is saying.
She sits in front of the blank paper trying to write.
“I have no words,” she says again.
“Well, start with that. Start with the no words and try to find the words through that.”
I repeat my answer.
I lost some major funding this past week.
I regrouped. I reached out and then an incredible angel stepped up and is funding my program at an amazing new facility that is outside the walls.
I am left speechless by this woman's generosity and her faith in me.
I am speechless when I walk through this new facility, an amazing grassroots re-entry community-based program.
“What do you want me to say, Ms.?” she asks again.
“I don't know,” I tell her.
“I want you to find the words.”
“Fine,” she says, a little pissed and annoyed with me.
“I don't know what to say,” she whines.
“This is hard. Relationships are painful. Love doesn't exist in my world. I hate my mom. Is this what you want?” she asks.
“All I asked was to write what your ideal relationship would look like,” I answered.
I look at this girl.
She is maybe a year older than my oldest child.
I think of the conversations that I have sometimes with my daughter.
I talk and talk and talk and she shrugs.
I talk and talk and talk and she rolls her eyes.
I talk and talk and talk and she says, “I don't know.”
Or she answers with one word sentences.
“Maybe” or “Yes” or “No.”
I smile back at this girl, and I say, “There's no wrong. There's no right, Honey. Sometimes we are speechless and we have no words.
But sometimes when we start putting the words on paper, they will surprise us.”
She looks at me, and I smile, and look right back at her.
Because sometimes, when you have no words, a smile, a hug, an embrace is so much more powerful than words.
I get up, move, and sit down next to her.
I look at what she has begun writing.
“That's good,” I say.
“Give me a little bit more. Okay?” I add.
“Man, you don't give up, do you?” she laughs.
“Never, Baby. I never give up. You are right.” and I squeeze her hand.
“Do you ever not have words, Ms.?” one asks.
And from across the table someone says, “She never shuts the fuck up.”
“No offense, Ms.”
“None taken.” I laugh.
The probation officer looks at me.
I nod to him “I’m good.”
He shakes his head.
He doesn’t need to say anything. I know exactly what he is thinking about me, and my lack of ‘distance.’
They finish the writing exercise.
We sit and read.
She doesn't want to read.
Sometimes their resistance can be so exhausting.
“Come on,” I say.
“Okay, do you want me to read it?”
“Oh, for fucks sake,” the feisty one in the group says. “I'll read it.” She takes the paper and starts to read.
It gets quieter and quieter in the room.
Tears are rolling down the writer’s eyes.
Tears are rolling down my eyes.
Tears roll down the eyes of the girl who is reading.
A horrible story of abuse unfolded.
I think for someone who didn't have words, she sure powered it out.
When the friend is done reading, it is quiet.
Everyone is truly speechless.
When somebody exposes the hurt in their heart like that, words lose their meaning.
I stand there racking my brain for what I can possibly say to this.
I whisper to her, “That was good. I am so sorry this happened to you.”
And the girl who read the letter closed her eyes and started singing.
She didn't have a particularly beautiful voice.
But it was exactly what was needed.
A few girls joined in and compassion stepped into the room.
There are sessions when magic happens in that cold gym up in Santa Clarita.
As I was packing my stuff up, she stood next to me.
“You know what happened, Ms.?”
My pain found my words.
“I know,” I said.
“I think so, too,” she says.
“Now maybe the words will help me find my joy,” she adds.
And there I stood speechless.
How poetic I thought.
And I look at her, this little girl who has been through so much.
She could be my little girl.
I hear her words.
And I start crying.
“Shit! Ms., don't go all emotional on me!”
And then I start laughing.
“Are you going to say something?” she asks.
And I shake my head. “No.”
I give her a long hug.
And then I whisper quietly in her ear.
“You will find joy in your words, and solace.”
“What is fucking solace?” she asks.
“It means comfort,” I say.
“Actually, Ms., sometimes, it's the quiet and no words that give me comfort. Sometimes I just like being still. Is that okay?”
I nod yes.
“Yes, that is more than okay!”
We walk to the office side by side, very quietly, in great comfort.