Freedom from Captivity

Choose to Shine Journal Pic

Story & Photo

by

Elizabeth Vierra Hall

 

Speaking your truth will set you free from your captivity.  Your captivity of heart,  mind and your spirit.  The fear will be there, at first, until you exercise stepping out and moving forward,  but once you exercise that choice,  you will then begin to experience a  tremendous freedom.  Once you feel that joy of accomplishment on your journey’s path, you won’t care who agrees, follows or even how small your circle becomes.  Here in lies your decision to that proverbial fork in the road.

Your path, your journey,  is individual and specific to you.  No one can walk it for you, and no one will have your answers .  When you are truly ready to walk it, only you can do the work that it will take.  Don’t use others as your compass on your journey; you will get sidetracked and lost.  Pay attention to what your heart (instinct) is telling you.  If you are unsure at any given moment then you still have some work to do in that particular area, and that’s OK.  Don’t force it just because you think you need to be at a certain place in time.  You will know when you need to move. When it is right for you.

Choose to shine YOUR best, in your time –  no one else’s.

Lady at the Train Station

Jennifer on the train pic

Photo and Story
by
Elizabeth Vierra Hall

It was the first breezy, chilly 47-degree night of the season, mid-November at a train station in a very small town in California.  Normally 47 degrees isn’t so bad, but when it’s the first of the season after the warm California temperatures, it can take a while for the body to acclimate.  I was there sending off my daughter from her shortened, 23-hour visit. As my daughter was making her way to one of the open train cars, an elderly woman had stepped off with an Amtrak employee.  The woman was crying and clearly hobbling in pain alongside the employee.  Observing, I thought it odd that no help was given in the way of a wheelchair, or other relief assistance.  As my attention was teetering back and forth from the elderly woman clearly needing assistance to watching for my daughter at one of the window seats as I like to see her and wave one last goodbye for the night, the woman, now left alone, was wailing even louder.  I’m thinking that anytime now her ride would be here to pick her up as I’m watching and waving to my daughter.

As the train slowly pulled away out of the station, the woman began to wail in pain even louder; bent over the railing alongside the walkway between the tracks and the parking lot.  I turned around to observe if anyone was coming for the woman. I watched as Amtrak staff went back inside the office, people catch their connecting buses, and families helping to load their loved ones in their vehicles. Still no one came for this woman.  It was only her and I …at 7:50 p.m., dark night, vacant parking lot except for a few overnight parked vehicles.  As I continued to look around for signs of anyone coming for her, I walked up slowly so as not to startle her and ask if there was anything I could do for her. She proceeded to catch her breath just enough to tell me that she didn’t want to bother me and said she called her son to pick her up; he had forgotten. She kept telling me I didn’t have to stay and I told her there was no way I was leaving her alone out here in the dark.  I offered to walk her over to a nearby bench, but she didn’t want to move.  She said it would take too much energy and would hurt, so I rubbed her back as she hunched over the railing and talked to her to see if it would help calm her. All I could think of was how could anyone be so neglectful to allow this woman to be out in the cold, dark night, alone. As she began to calm, she told me that she had just fallen on the knee that she is supposed to have surgery on, and, that she just found out that she is VERY, VERY sick.  “I just don’t need all this right now!” she told me.  “It’s just too much!” and then began to break down again with uncontrollable sobbing.  With each vehicle that past by she’d say, “Here’s my son”…but it wasn’t, and as each car drove by that wasn’t her son, she cried.  Time passed and it was getting more breezy and colder.  Where is this son?

Finally her son drove in.  Did he rush to her aid?  No.  I watched as he 1) parked far away from her, 2) took time to slowly clean out his vehicle, 3) was clearly in no hurry to look around for her.  Really? I just couldn’t take it any longer, so I called out as I walked part way to his vehicle, “Are you here to pick up your mother?”  “Yeah”, he said as if it were a bother.  “She’s over here!”  I had to direct him over. She thanked me over and over for staying with her and said it’ll be okay and that I could go. I cried all the way home.  It was such an emotional experience.  Even though her son was there, I had to wonder if she really would be alright. My heart was tugged with all sorts of emotions.  Clearly, emotion for her well-being, but there seemed to be something else.  What was it? Even a few hours later, I was still crying.

After playing the night’s events over and over in my mind, it hit me, and it was two-fold.  The first was that fact that in today’s society people are so unaware of the needs of others even when it’s crying out right in front of you!  How robotic is our society? She was crying loud enough that everyone heard, yet she was ignored.  No one even approached her. My heart felt cruelty for mankind. I mean, just imagine if that woman were you or worse, your mother?  Can you imagine how much pain and hopelessness she was feeling on that cold, dark night?  Alone.  It’s just so upsetting.

And second, what I still can’t seem to put down into words, must be the heart’s emotion to helping someone in such distraught,  especially when no one else would; making a difference in someone else’s life.  Even now, almost two months later and tears in my eyes, I still can’t put it into words that would make you feel what the heart feels. And you know what?  I think, no, I believe, that there is a reason and a purpose for that.  It is an emotion that is best felt; only felt, with the heart. It’s a gift.  A gift that I was given to show love, faith in humanity; a purpose for our life on earth and that feeling that comes with it all wrapped up in one overpowering emotion never to be fully explained in simple words.

Let’s be thankful for our good health and for our families and friends that care enough to make sure we are safe to and from our destinations; for not everyone is as fortunate. Pray for the less fortunate. 💔

 

An Angel Experience

by Elizabeth Vierra Hall

 

Last night, while attending a retirement dinner in honor of a former co-worker and friend, I had an experience that could only be explained as an Angel experience.

Go back 38 years ago to sophomore year high school. I had an English teacher who was an admired, kind, strong and loving soul. Even though it was mandatory class, it didn’t seem like one. One particular day I had such a bad cold that seemed to just be getting worse. Just before class actual begun, she gave me money to buy some orange juice. Surprised by the gesture, I accepted and walked out of class quickly so that I wouldn’t miss much class time. As the class went on, I noticed how much better just drinking the juice made me feel. I was able to concentrate better on the class, her teachings, and the paper I needed to write. It was “term paper” time. Back in those days, “term paper” time was about as dreaded as finals.

So years have passed and I’ve never forgotten her gesture and how good some vitamin C can boost your system. Every time I get a cold, I go get some orange juice and think of her. All these years that have passed, I’ve always wanted to thank her and let her know that I have never forgotten. Thing is, she passed away at the young age of 45, and even though some may say it was only a few coins for juice, it was much more to me. Teachers don’t just hand out money to students. They don’t want interruption of class time and attendance, nor do they need students roaming the halls during class time; part of my amazement.

This teacher had a twin. A twin I never got to meet or cross paths, until last night. Seeing her walk through the door of the retirement party; time stood still for just a bit. All that went through my head was, “Go up to her and tell her what her sister did for you”, followed by, “No, that would just sound silly.” I continued to mingle with present and past co-workers and enjoyed the evening while continued thoughts of the past high school experience forced their way in and out. As the night started to come to an end and people were walking about saying their good byes, a strong force just had me think, “Go right now…just go up to her.” So I did. She was still sitting at her table, the family table – – go figure. I walked over, squatted down to her seated level, and said, “Hi. You don’t know me, but your sister was one of my teachers in high school and I just wanted to tell you something she did for me.” I began to tell her my story and that it probably sounds silly. I always wanted to thank her. She stood up and gave me a warm and loving hug, to a stranger. She motioned with her hand and and said her sister was there, on her shoulder. The overwhelming feeling that, even right now as I type this, came over me. It was an unexplained feeling. I began to cry. She shared stories of her sister and it felt like we were no longer strangers. The entire time, that strong feeling surrounded me. It felt like a cleansing of some sort. So hard to explain.

Over the past few years, I have come to believe that things happen for a reason. That people, places and events will have something that will be for either our benefit, for those around us, or perhaps for both. Life is short; shorter for others. Life isn’t just for our benefit, but for us to benefit others. To be good, loving and kind and to help each other grow. I think we are taught this, but not many TRULY experience it. It is a gift. Something not to take lightly in this our journey of living.

I have never forgotten this teacher.   Now that I have met her twin sister, I feel things have come full circle; the closure so to speak that obviously my heart needed after all these years. Thanks Janice for allowing me to share my story.

In case you were wondering, I did very well in that class back in 1979. I got an A. I also received an A on my term paper. It was entitled, “Child Abuse.”

I hope you all have a blessed Sunday. Enjoy it. Love it. Live it.