DIVERSIONAL therapist Michelle Lowe knows that small things can make a big difference in troubling times.
The latest proof of this was brought home to her when a small stone that had provided comfort to a woman living rough on the streets was found by a troubled young girl who also saw it as uplifting.
The reality is that the stone was just a stone but, first to the woman and then the girl, it presented as something to physically grasp, something in which they saw hope and found comfort.
Ms Lowe runs Talk to the Animals, a NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) accredited “social and emotional wellbeing centre” in Balnarring (“Donkey therapy makes more than horse sense” The News 26/4/21).
“They have never met, but now share a symbol of hope,” Ms Lowe said.
The stone had been purposely left by the 40-year-old woman next to a bench, the “safe place”, overlooking wetlands at Ms Lowe’s therapy centre.
The woman was nearing the end of her three-day stay and did not feel the need to hold onto the stone which had supported her during a time of homelessness.
“The view from this very special place takes in water reeds, native birds, grazing paddocks, trees waving in the wind and space. The path on island leads to a seat where one can sit and feel the peace,” Ms Lowe said.
“The woman spent much time on this island as she began to heal. In gratitude, she placed beside the seat a small treasure she had found when she was living on the streets which she had kept as a sign of hope for a better life.
“She left her gift of love as a thank you for what she had gained. She felt she could now move forward.”
The woman’s challenges had led to bouts of homelessness and the little girl, “in spite of her own challenges, displays a keen interest in participated learning”.
“The little girl also goes to the safe place to play on the island. She loves to collect small stones from the island’s pathway to stick onto drawing paper.
“This day she held the stone in her hand, the one [as it turned out] left behind by the woman. She asked me what it was, and I said it is a very special gift from the island which she can hold in times of trouble to keep her safe.
“The common thread in their lives is that they both experience social difficulties.”
As the woman was preparing to leave the following day, she told Ms Lowe about leaving “a gift” near the bench.
“Straight away I knew what she had done. I told her how the little girl had found it and wanted to keep it so she could feel safe.
“She just smiled and told me the story behind the gift. That moment showed me that there is still love and generosity within us.
“The value of the gift is measured by the giving, not what it was.”