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Day 18-4 Degrees to Kevin Bacon & Change

Happy almost Christmas! I am struck by how through Linkedin and Facebook our world is smaller. I heard that the 6 degrees from Kevin Bacon game is now 4degrees because of social networking. That is exciting! Do we want our world to be smaller? I say yes, we need to feel connected to something’s, someone’s, and if this helps then awesome.  Seriously, it can be a high school reunion 24/7, college, ex-boyfriends and girlfriends, old friends. Did you ever lose touch with a friend and forget how and why it ever happened. I have.

I recently am re-connecting with a true blue friend, Chris. I am reminded to be grateful that he is one of a few amazing men I have had in my life. Each of these salt of the earth fellas, who would do anything for me and are loyal straight talking friends. It doesn’t get better than that. Chris and I went through an abusive work situation together. We were each other’s only ally and support.

I was in college and he was in graduate school. I was doing an internship at a battered women’s shelter. I had no training and was ill prepared but I made the best of it. My empathy was out of control. I took every women’s problems home with me and racked my brain trying to find ways to help them, their kids and change their lives.

One night, one of the woman went into labor and she left her son at the shelter for me to watch. The rule was the women could not leave their kids at the shelter without them for any reason. When I came on my 4:00pm shift, I found the woman in labor and she had been since the early morning. She spent the day waiting at the shelter instead of going to the hospital because she was waiting for a relative to come and pick up her little DeShawn.

All I could think was, (1) This woman was beat throughout her pregnancy and there could be problems so she needs to get to a hospital (2) I was going to intervene and step out of the box and forget the rule—this was about making sure she and her new baby were ok. So, I took “personal responsibility” for Deshawn who was 7 and off she left via ambulance. I called her mother to see what time she was coming and she told me she did not have a car and told me she would watch him if I brought him to her. My boyfriend at the time was off doing whatever. So, I called my tried and true blue Chris.

Chris lived 45minutes away but without hesitation said, “Yes, I will come pick you up and bring you and he to his grandmother’s house in the projects.” So, there we were, Chris and I, two white folks driving through one of the toughest housing projects in Boston at 9:00pm at night looking for this kid’s grandmother’s house. When we found the apartment, she just looked at me and said nothing. I was looking for a thank you but she seemed pissed and inconvenienced. So off we left and home late to prepare for another horrific work day under the czar.

You see that is kind of guy Chris is and in doing my “Life Review” as Jane says, I always seem to have a Chris in each stage of my life. I am blessed. I don’t know how we find each other but it is this connection, this knowing, this “we’re in it together, we are a team, I have your back and you have mine.” It is always with a straight guy and we are always clearly friends  and never anything else. It’s pretty cool. I don’t know if you believe in past lives but I do. And I think that when we connect with friends like this, it is because we have this deeper past life connection and our soul recognizes that. I think the same goes for lovers and family members.

BTW, I have since stopped feeling an excessive sense of responsibility and only help, support, offer advice, insight, ask questions when invited. It is the best way to bring about change for others—let them invite it and it happens.

About Joy Rain

Joy has been a diversity and inclusion consultant and mediator for over ten years. Prior to consulting, she was professor of Psychology and Women Studies. Joy has a Master of Arts in Psychology (Boston University) and a Master of Education in Social Justice Education (UMASS Amherst).

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