A Transforming Encounter
Lessons from a bad day
by Cindy Treanor and members of L'Arche Hobart, Australia
Artwork by Rennie Jaurigue and Sylvia Cross, L'Arche Hobart, Australia
It was a Monday afternoon and two of the ladies and I were heading home to their house for afternoon tea. We arrived home and were welcomed by Greg, who they also shared their house with.
Greg is a very welcoming man so when he wasn't smiling to greet us we knew that something was wrong. Even though he wasn't his usual self he still welcomed us in and we began getting things ready for afternoon tea together. It was my turn to get the drinks ready so I set about doing this. Hannah, Heather and Greg sat together at the table.
After a little while Heather noticed that Greg really was very sad. She immediately made her way to the other side of the table and began to comfort Greg. She listened to him and then offered to share a gift of chocolate she had received that day. In hearing her kind words Greg began to calm himself. He then talked about how hard his day had been at work. He said it had been a bad day.
In telling his story, and in the midst of this loving atmosphere created by his friends, Greg slowly began to return to his usual outgoing self. He then offered to assist Hannah with her afternoon tea, which is something he delights in doing most afternoons. His mood was still a bit quieter than usual but even so his friendship with Hannah called him out of his sadness. She beamed at him which speaks far more than any words could. She is a woman who talks through the expressions on her face and the sounds she makes to let us know how she is and how she feels about each of us. Greg began to talk some more but you could still tell that he wasn't feeling the best. The love of his friends was making a difference but there was still some way to go for his recovery to be complete.
On noticing this Heather began to talk about the local Agricultural Show they were planning to visit later that week. She asked Greg about the sort of show bags he liked and offered to help him to choose which one he would like to buy. Even though she was interested in looking this up for herself she put her interests to one side so she could help Greg to decide what he wanted. They then spent a long time looking at these on her tablet.
Slowly, as they spent time together, Greg began to relax and put aside the feelings from his bad day. The transforming effect of Heather's kindness, Hannah's smile and Greg's concern for and desire to assist Hannah even though he wasn't feeling good, are a true story of how love transforms each of us in its own way. It doesn't mean that we are happy all the time but it does mean that love and real friendships help us to bring out the best in eac
h other even on those "bad days".