It’s supposed to be a bad thing but I felt it big time yesterday and I’m happy about that.
It’s been a grind getting off sleeping pills. My weaning is now into Week Seven and I’m proud to announce that I haven’t had any for the past seven nights. But, oh, the fuzziness! One night recently, I must have woken up ten times … but magically tottered back to sleep soon after each one. Overall, a lot of recent dullness in my life.
So yesterday morning I raised myself up and floated through the morning in a light stupor. I also think I was suffering from food poisoning. But I was scheduled to volunteer at South Dorchester School in the afternoon and I love those kids. Mid-morning, I was leaning towards the comfort of my bed but later roused my cells enough to get in the car and head to school.
I arrived at lunch recess and walked towards the Grade 6 portable. Tiffany, the teacher, was nowhere to be seen so I plunked myself down in her rocking chair and sat in the darkness. Almost immediately came the message from within: “Go home. Rest. The kids will do fine without you.” Which is, of course, true. Kids can have fun wherever they are.
I could feel my hands pressing down on the arms of the chair, preparing for an exit. But the rest of my being wanted to stay. “But what good will you do? Maybe you’re not dizzy but you’re somewhere in the ballpark.”
“Oh, be quiet. I’ll give what I have to give.” And so I did.
Good things happened in the afternoon:
1. I talked to the girls’ basketball team and told them that my ecstatic happiness after their win must be because I love them, and want them to be happy.
2. Several times, I accompanied various kids to the art supply room, where they found colourful construction paper and plasticene for their projects. Many thanks came my way.
3. While I was waiting for one group of kids to find their stuff, a teacher came up to me and asked “How are you?” I thought for a millisecond and replied with the truth: “I’m happy.” One young lady chimed in with “Mr. Kerr, you’re always happy.” I smiled.
4. I scoured the school for empty cardboard boxes, bugging this staff member and that, ending up with two big ones and one small one – perfect for the creation of dramatic sets.
5. One girl, after some running frustrations in PE, declared “I am nothing.” I let her know, forcefully, that she was something, and a very special something indeed.
6. Four boys were hunched down inside a playground hut, practicing their recorder pieces during an outdoor Music class. I applauded at the end, and one fellow reached his ball cap towards me, for a tip no doubt. I reached into my wallet and found four coins – two dimes and two nickels. Into the hats the money went. Their first professional performance!
7. I watched the kids pass the baton during relay practice. I did very well as a corner post, managing to stay vertical the whole time. What a thrill it was to have sprinting 12-year-olds blowing by me at full speed.
8. I watched from a distance as a boy and girl sat together way out there on the playground grass, playing their recorder duets. Sweet.
9. I read to the kids from a diary written by an aboriginal residential school student. Such hard words to read, and for the kids to hear. Children identified only as numbers. Having to say white man’s prayers while any expression of their own religion was punished. Not being able to talk at meals.
10. During the end-of-the-day “Shout Outs”, I applauded a girl who was on yesterday’s victorious basketball team, but couldn’t play because of a concussion. She was a great cheerleader, and dealt with the feelings of loss that no doubt came up.
Ten reasons to get out of bed
Because the world needs me (and you) even if we’re not 100%
Pride before a fall? Maybe.
But what’s a bruise or two in the course of a lifetime?