I almost didn’t recognize her when I saw her at a meeting the other day.
I still can’t remember her name – it feels, sometimes, as if I’ve vanquished more brain cells than I have left! – but I remember her face. I remember seeing her the first time I sat in on the Friday morning Women’s Spiritual, her eyes alternating between downcast sadness and furtive apprehension.
When Women’s Program therapist Patty Brewer rang the chimes, she imperceptibly flinched. When it came around to her to contribute, she did so with the weight of a thousand pound stone around her neck, pulling her shoulders toward the earth and her spirit beneath it. Fear … pain … self-loathing … anger … guilt … they flickered in that stone like dusky gems of a malevolent strata.
At the meeting the other day, that metaphorical thing around her neck was gone. I marveled at her smile … her serenity … her ease of place among peers familiar and new … the hope that wrapped itself around her like a comfortable blanket. This … this is what we do. This is who we are. This girl, this fragile, broken thing, had started the journey back into the light, and I felt such a profound sense of gratitude for Program Director Anne Young and Patty and all of the other staff members who do such an amazing job in our Women’s Program.
It is a point of personal pride in the marketing of this place that I can point to it as this unique and amazing place where damaged ladies are lifted up and given a renewed sense of purpose and a future they never thought was possible. Having been privileged with a glimpse into the process through a couple of attendances at Friday Morning Spiritual, I see how they’re taught to embrace one another, to support one another, to believe that Anne and Patty and all of the other women believe: that they are worth it. That they are enough. That they are loved and, more importantly, that they are worth loving.
That they are beautiful.
That girl at the meeting was living proof. The women I see who emerge from our Women’s Program are living proof. We’re a place of healing, and I’m so very grateful to be along for the ride at Cornerstone, this place where they discover their beauty, as well as that of the world around them, and I thank these people and my Higher Power for letting me be a part of it.