She sat on the corner of the bench, fidgeting nervously as she waited for the bus.
I was a graduate student, studying music. I had left my car at home that afternoon and taken the bus to school for the week’s masterclass.
I had performed from the bottom of my heart. But the masterclass teacher had ripped apart my performance, picking at the length of my eighth notes and the sloppy edges of my articulation. Tiny details, but enough to make or break someone in the cutthroat world of classical music. And he should know. He was renowned in the music world, he had performed big gigs with big orchestras. My dream. Or was it? Now I found myself at the bus stop, warm tears threatening to overflow my eyes onto my cold cheeks in the brisk Michigan autumn.
“Details, Amy, details. Practice more. Technique. Your musicality is great, we can feel the emotions in your music, but details. You’ll never make it without the technical details.” The words echoed through my head like a hammer smashing and splintering glass. The glass of my psyche, which I always willed to turn to steel. They always told me I was too sensitive. Words of the masterclass teacher, words of many of my other professors throughout my high school and college musical years. I wanted to quit. I wanted to run away. I wanted to leave my clarinet case right there at the bus stop and run home, or run somewhere else, run anywhere. Run until the pain would stop.
I noticed the woman sitting next to me. She looked sad, too, another soul lost in the sea of broken dreams. I breathed deeply and said a small prayer for her. Reiki. I did not know much about energy healing at that time, but I knew the power of prayer.
A minute later, a bus showed up. Not my bus, but the woman stood up to talk to the driver. “Where is bus 75 tonight?” she asked.
“Sorry, ma’am, that bus came by fifteen minutes ago.”
“Oh, no, is there another bus to Haslett tonight?”
“No, ma’am, sorry.”
“OK,” she said and limped back to the bench. I hadn’t noticed the limp at first. I had been too self-absorbed in my own thoughts. Compassion and regret flooded over me. What should I care about stupid master classes and eighth notes when a fellow human being was suffering right in front of me?
“Are you OK?” I asked, timidly. I am an introvert by nature, so I struggle to start conversations with strangers.
“Oh, yeah,” she shrugged. “I just gotta get to Haslett. I guess I’ll have to walk again.”
“It’s such a cold night. Can I give you a ride?”
“You have a car? What are you doing at the bus stop?”
I shrugged. “I like to take the bus sometimes, but I do have my car at home. Here comes bus 84. Let’s take the bus back to my place, and I’ll give you a ride.”
“You sure?” She looked at me incredulously. I could tell that she was a woman not used to favors. Maybe her dark skin, her heavy weight, her stooped shoulders which betrayed years of poverty and hardship, worked against her in this rich college town. But why? Didn’t we talk in college about systems of oppression? Weren’t college students known for caring tremendously, radically fighting the System? Did I care enough?
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m sure. Let’s get out of the cold. My name is Amy.”
“My name is J.” she said.
I gave her a ride home that night, and we eventually became great friends. I prayed over her aching knees and other joints, her body groaning under the mental anguish of unrelenting poverty and discrimination. She told me of her struggles to get a job, her struggles to raise her children, and her dark journey of depression when social services took her children away because she could not maintain housing. I cried as she told me of undergoing knee surgery and then being released from the hospital to the street. I could only imagine her pain, but, in sharing the burden, she looked a little happier, a little lighter.
This is true Reiki healing. This is Holy Spirit healing. Yeshua came to seek and to save the least of these, and J. is his best friend. Reiki is holy, and the holy is intricately tied with social justice. I couldn’t pull J out of poverty, give her a better place to live, but I could offer a listening ear, compassion, Reiki.
This is the story of the Good Samaritan. Help everyone you can in any way you can, one hurting individual at a time. Open your eyes to the pain around you, my friends. I know that it can be hard to see others when your own pain is so overwhelming. I certainly struggle with this. But Reiki is a journey as much as it is a healing modality. Let’s link arms on this journey and carry the light of the Holy Spirit into the darkest of places.
Photo used freely, courtesy of that guy A on sxc.hu