Loving

So. I got to school early this morning and got to work in the bathrooms! I had to stop for tape (we were worried about the pages losing their sticky since we had to undo all the pads to write on them), and just happened to notice a big pack of thick dry erase markers on clearance. So I grabbed those too! I stuck all the bathrooms and wrote on all the mirrors!

The janitor caught up with me in the last bathroom and was quite miffed. He asked what I was doing. I explained that it is National Eating Disorder Awareness Month, and I was being supportive. He said no one would read them, or care and he was sick of cleaning marker off the mirrors and peeling stupid notes off the walls and to knock it off. I grinned and stuck a big one to water fountain I was standing by.

The reaction from my friends and Facebook people has been amazing. I’ve gotten so many comments and PM’s from people I hardly know, sharing ideas, love, support, and their own stories. One comment, especially, got me thinking. She just said

I love that you are reaching out to help others…you rock lady…you really do…

She is one of only about 8 Rilind Fans that I felt compelled to reach out to personally. We have never met. Her comment reminded me about the early early days with Ri.

The day he was rescued, my roommate and I were driving (like bats outta hell) 9 hours home from a vacation that was cut short because of him. We all knew the situation was pretty bad. While we were driving I asked for two things, although I could have asked for anything right then and she’d have done it. But I only asked her not to leave his side until he had a name, and if I could have Brian meet us at the vet.

Brian, at the time, was a friend of a friend of a friend, reiki master who had worked on another dog for me several months before. So the day after Christmas I pulled this near stranger away from his family to do reiki on an emaciated (and unfriendly) dog for free! He showed up, and has since become a great friend. But that day he said to me, “I need you to understand how this works. It’s reiki, not magic. It might help him get better, and it might help him die. Are you sure about this?” I opened my arms to Rilind and he came to me. So I whispered “I love you, and I accept whatever choice you make.” Then stepped out of Brian’s way. No one asked what I said and no one else weighed in on Brian’s warning. From that moment on, no matter what happened, he would die loved and named.

I made nearly all of the decisions about Rilind by myself. And it was extremely important to me that every action come from a place of love. It was hard for me back then, because he was mean and I was allergic to him. It was hard for the people watching because they wanted to react to his appearance, they wanted to be angry, point fingers and speculate what they’d do differently in my position. It was very hard for me. I cried a lot during that time. Some of the comments from strangers were incredibly harsh and painful to read. But I was consistent. He had decided to live, and I had decided to love.

Slowly. People caught on. They learned that they could depend on Rilind to lead with love and act with compassion. Something, so simple, yet captivating, in a way that reached 10,000 people from all over the world. Those people responded to our message by loving others. People fostered, adopted, donated and got involved in their own communities. I have received hundreds of stories about lives saved and hearts changed because of Rilind.

I am one person. I am a marginally competent iPhone user, and love dogs. I touched the world just by being myself, and acting with compassion. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary.

This is how I know that janitor is wrong. He can wipe away my mirrors and peel away my notes. But he can’t stop me from caring. He can’t force me to be anything besides loving. He can’t determine the reactions of others. And he can never say for sure that no one cared.

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