L ittle sparks were flying around as the tram entered the stop. She grabbed my hand. The amount of people was slightly overwhelming and I positioned myself a little closer to her, making sure she felt safe. Free seats aren’t always easy to find when you enter the daily morning commute of an entire city. Luckily, the sun blessed us with its rays, as it did for all of Brussels, and we found a seat. Sometimes many words are exchanged, sometimes only a few. We look out the window and watch the city pass by. The environment changes as we move through the different neighborhoods, as does the appearance of the walls, the people, and their expressions. We talk about her dog. She loves dogs. Words are not necessary when presence speaks volumes. There is a warm feeling associated with being there. Being there is enough- nothing more, nothing less.
Using the term “mental disorder” does not resonate with me. There is nothing disorderly about these kind-hearted people but their diagnosis. The Delta House provides residents who have intellectual disabilities support to improve their strengths and skills so they may achieve self-sufficiency. Through my work with Serve the City, I get to be part of these joyful encounters.