Time Out


On a day marked by the tragedy that played out at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the need for kindness in this world is greater than ever.  It is sad that it takes a tragedy to bring people together, and while misery may like company, I want so desperately to believe that kindness and love also unite us and are the much better company to be in together.  It takes each and every one of us to do just one thing each day to change the world for the better, and I have faith we can do this one person, one kind act, and one day at a time.  So, my journey continued today.

Work has been busier than usual lately, and there is no shortage of things to do.  I usually go to work with a goal of what I would like to accomplish each day, and each day, my plans usually are thrown for a loop, as there is no such thing as a routine day at a day shelter for homeless men.  Today, I set aside my ‘to do’ list to do something for one of the men in our housing program who was hospitalized recently and is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at a local hospital within walking distance from the day shelter.  This dear man has some serious health issues, and right now, he is struggling to recover.  Like many of the men who come through our doors, this gentleman has taken residence in our hearts, and we have become his surrogate family. 

I walked into his room in the ICU, and he opened his eyes and gave me a weak smile.  He was in pain and not up for a lengthy conversation, but since I am rarely at a loss for words, I took the lead and kept the conversation light and upbeat.  I teased him by saying that there were easier ways to get my attention than to end up in the ICU, and seeing him smile a bit more and hearing his faint laugh were sweet indeed.  I am nothing if not entertaining.  During our visit, there were some more serious moments interspersed with the light-hearted ones.  At one point, I asked him if he was giving up, and he shook his head ‘no’.  I reassured him that we weren’t giving up on him and would be there for him, and he nodded in agreement and appreciation.  The most poignant moment was when his nurse entered the room, and he asked if I was a family member.  I did not know how to respond, so, I waited for him to answer and teared up when he softly said, “Let’s say she’s my special friend.  She’s my special friend, and I love her like family.”  I set out to do something to brighten his day, but in the end, he did more for me than I ever could do for him.  If I had to be outdone by someone, I am glad it was by him.

The one thing I did for myself is that tonight I traded in my ‘to do’ list of both personal and professional tasks to finish for an evening of writing and catching up on all of the shows I recorded when I was too busy this week to watch them.  I did throw in some laundry, as my compulsion to be productive wasn’t totally controlled, but it was definitely not the most productive way to spend an evening at all.  That freedom to relax rather than to busy myself with tasks that can wait for another day was truly needed and appreciated.  It was a long week, and I earned the night off and enjoyed every lazy minute of it.

So, taking some time out ended up being time well spent indeed, and it made a difference, even a small one, in my life and in one of our guy’s life.  In the end, maybe, kindness triumphs over evil after all.  For all of our sakes, I hope and pray that I am right.

Just one thing each day . . .

Categories: Just One Thing Each Day

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