Have you ever been asked for help?

My cat has this strange habit of trying to leap inside through the window when she sees me strolling into a room- yes, she spends half her time looking in. She’s also quite a tail-wagger. And if I step out, she puts her head down on my feet and, well, that’s that. As I stand there waiting for her to stop snuggling my toes, I wonder. There’s a loving, warm, sentient being with its head on my feet and behaving as though this is the highlight of her day- of her very existence. And I am floored. I am floored.

Have you ever been asked for help? The child who can’t tie her laces- the friend trying to manoeuvre stairs in heels- the old lady who can’t walk- look closely at that moment of vulnerability when they extend their hand out to you. It takes courage. Talk to the bereft and the frightened and the bewildered. Sit with them as they unravel and gather the threads to you. Let the yards and yards of wool pile up in your arms, and let them drown in their own patterns. Your task is to keep track of the yarn. To help them knit it back together when they’re ready. To stitch up the wounds where the stuffing came out with neat, steady strokes. Carry your needle and thread wherever you go.

The world has oceans of tears, of cries, of helpless scratches in the paint. The walls listen and the walls don’t forget. The earth is moistened for a moment, and then the sun rises and the days roll by. There are those locked in boxes of their own making, deep underg41tmrl95mXLround cells where the cobwebs stretch to the ground. There are those whose eyes are dry and whose screams are soundless. There are those who are digging themselves out and wonder which way it is to the open blue skies. There are those stuck in the chrysalis, who don’t know what to do with their wings. There are those that burn what they touch and hate themselves for it yet fire is all they know. There are those who burn themselves at the altar and roam the rest of their time as quiet waifs on the edge of life. And there are heroes and weary labourers and knights and queens and magic people also- clearing the snow off the roads and carrying umbrellas and a hand to help you cross the road. Spread yourself out like a rich, delicious carpet and hold the entire menagerie to your heart. You can laugh with everyone, but until you’ve cried with them, you have not loved.

They are, each one of them, without fail, warriors- just like you. And when a warrior is de-horsed, or loses his shield, or his friend, or his war, or his life, and finds himself knocking on your door- you wear the cloak of honour he gives you proudly. And in a moment, you become his shield, or his friend, or his victory, or his life. And that is how you all win.

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