Yesterday afternoon my husband and I took public transportation (which is common for us). There weren’t that many people in our car so we sat down. I took the window seat and my husband sat in the aisle seat next to me. A man got on the train and in a loud voice said, “I am Kenneth Jones! Yes, I am Kenneth Jones! Kenneth Jones, here!”
He sat across from my husband and I and asked my husband his name. My husband gave him his nickname and Kenneth shouted it out several times and then fist bumped my husband. “Nice name! Very nice name! Do you like it?”
My husband laughed a little and said, “I better like it, I’ve had it since I was born.”
Kenneth laughed and then for the next twenty minutes he acted as though he had an audience of thousands as he raised his voice, threw his hands in the air, and made gestures to go with the point he was trying to make.
In 1981, Kenneth had a check for $900 that he showed to a friend. He had made the money welding. On his way to the bank, his friend, and several other men, jumped him, hit him on the head with a crow bar, slit his ear, cut his throat, broke his jaw on both sides, and left him for dead.
Kenneth said in the hospital he made a choice to live his life differently. He said he knew that he had love inside of him and that the right thing to do was to give that love away. “You are filled with love. You don’t hide that love in the closet. You give that love away. If you give that love away, it will come full circle and before you know it, that love will find you! Yes, give it away and that love will seek you out and come back to you.”
Kenneth’s final words to us were, “Don’t hide what you have inside! Give it away! Give what you have to other people!”
Some people with schizophrenia attribute symbols and meaning to everything that happens to them, and around them. When I am psychotic I think that way constantly. Maybe I do this when I am not psychotic, too. I like to imagine it is possible for prophets to get onto public transportation, give my husband and I a message, and then get off a stop or two before us. I like to think that, because believing life is a series of random events takes the magic and mystery out of our existence.
I believe I was right where I needed to be yesterday, and heard what I needed to hear. Even if you don’t believe that, you have to admit that Kenneth said some beautiful things about love and life. I want to believe that if I give love away freely that love will seek me out and find me again, hopefully when I need it most.
I can’t always tell which thoughts are me and which thoughts are my illness, and in these cases it doesn’t matter, I’ll be happier choosing the one that involves some miracles, some mystery, and the power of love.