Tonight I simply feel like crying myself to sleep. Maybe I’m tired, maybe I’m in the moment. It could be the emotions of the evening or the frustration playing soccer today and yet have an amazing team dinner following. Maybe its just there is so much going on in my life, thank G-d! Regardless of why my emotions are strung out here is why I really wanted to write at this late hour of the day.
While serving the homeless the stories swapped brought much from the past. I’m all about moving forward, but, sometimes staying back even if just for a moment is important in the healing process. It started at our third stop, expected to a be long visit. It started out beautiful as we lit these ridiculously giant candles and carried them out of the car and began singing happy birthday to this guy M, our friend. He seems to be sweet and we always try to go out of our way for our Tuesday night friends’ birthdays. Anyway after we fed our friend with warm burritos, homemade cookies and some kool-aid like punch we began hearing more about their weeks, the good and the bad.
Now to bring you up to the next story, we got to our next stop and people just kept coming in. It was powerful to see and serve so many people at once in a place where they are normally so split up. Then this woman, C, showed up with a bandage around her head. I knew from then, that I needed to talk to her. She blessed me with such an amazing conversation. She shared with me how this particular traumatic brain injury, TBI, happened. We exchanged stories and frustrations of TBI. It was nice to know I am not alone. It was hard to remember the pains and challenges of TBI, especially at the beginning but even still now. It made me realize that it still frustrates me when people make fun of something I say when it comes out wrong or sounds stupid. Its like sometimes my brain is dyslexic with words or sounds or letters and sentences, statements and questions come out confused or mixed up. Sure it is easy to laugh at these situations, it make the situation seem a little better. HOWEVER, we talked about how it is frustrating how other people might not understand this, even those close to us. Sometimes they are the ones to correct our wording or making fun. Its out of love and its out of not fully understanding our brain. Not that we are much better, but we both were able to express our irritation. It was nice to know that I’m not crazy for being super fearless regarding certain situations and yet being extremely terrified of others (situations). Its painful and being frustrating that TBI cannot be seen, so people struggle to understand! It breaks my heart when I meet others in the pain that I know so well. It hurts me to know I am still broken. To know I will never be “normal”, whatever that is. To know that people don’t understand me sometimes and sometimes, more than not, I don’t understand them. TBI makes certain truths beautiful and wonderful and others hidden. TBI is like playing a game in your head of not always know what the next word is and sometimes you guess wrong. TBI for me is not always knowing the right things to say at the right time or not speaking up and being a good advocate for myself. Maybe thats why sometimes I become friends with people who think they can manipulate me. I thank G-d for often waking me out of these situations and helping me to realize that I can make decisions that are good and that it is unnecessary to have unhealthy relationships. That I am capable of more than I can see. I can achieve and strive towards goals to better myself. I do NOT have to accept mediocrity even with TBI. I thankful for friends who are there for me, especially on bad days. As the tears flow and the words come out, I am just reminded how grateful I am to have shared a TBI conversation with someone out on the streets living a much more challenging life. I had intended to encourage and lift her and instead, I feel she did that for me.
I nearly forgot about the next point I hoped to share with you. When I saw the woman, C, tonight with the bandage on her head and knew that I needed to speak to her it was for the simple reason that maybe, just maybe, I would understand what she is going through because I’ve been there even if some of those memories are fuzzy. Maybe we don’t know why bad things happen or why we are each given specific trials. I like to think though, that maybe, just maybe, we were made for moments like this evening; where we have opportunities to shed light on this dark and difficult times for others because we know what its like. I choose to believe that G-d continues to help me heal and live with a TBI to connect and educate those I come in contact with. And I believe that it is ultimately to bring glory to G-d!