Today I looked deep into the eyes of a man… a stranger to me… and what I saw was physical torment, deep suffering, innocence, and rage… a soul so lost that hanging onto this life was uncertain. I watched this young man fighting to resist the consequences of his drug overdose. I watched him struggle to keep his focus on my eyes as he grasped desperately to hold onto consciousness.
We connected deeply, heart opened, as he expressed his trust in me, his fear, and his hate for those standing around us. I gently supported his failing body as he moved in and out of awareness. It was as if he changed before my eyes, over and over again, from the face of innocence… to the face of anger… to the face of fear of death… to the face of surrender.
Each of my senses awoke in an effort to keep him awake and myself safe. In my efforts to help, it was not lost on me that this was a very unpredictable situation. I became aware of every sound … I could hear and feel my own voice as it conveyed love and directiveness. I could pick up every whispering word spoken by the others that stood just up ahead. The sound of the cars as they drove by provided a hushing sound, while the song of the birds, combined with his fading raspy voice, kept me fully alert. I could feel the sun on my face, the asphalt beneath my feet and the texture of his top as I gently supported his shoulder in an attempt to prevent him from falling further. I could smell the warmth of the summer day with a slight hint of garbage from further down the alley. I could process each moment making mental notes as I visually assessed his needs, our environment and my risk as I spotted and created distance from his concealed weapon.
Today I looked a man in the face and saw truth. His wholeness and our oneness. I witnessed his pain and his struggle between this world and that of hell. I felt connection and disconnect as our eyes met and as they closed. Time seemed to have slowed. Each word, each movement, each sound, everything seemed to slow… I could see in him the good, the bad, the innocence, the rage, the love, the hate, the light and the darkness. I could see all that we are as human beings. In those quiet moments I honoured him, I honoured myself, I honoured our connection. I held hope for a better day, gratitude for this day and my love for life flowed out of every cell of my being.
© Kathy Bazinet 2014