The sickness finally broke today, and I feel about 80% better. I was finally talked into going to see the doctor yesterday, and I’m glad I did. It is a strange feeling when the doctor looks into your mouth and looks afraid. He said he thought I had made it in time—thought, as in, not sure. It seems like I did, as the medicine is working. However, last night was really scary, I couldn’t open my teeth more than an eighth inch apart, could barely speak, and breathing was an effort. It’s funny that I never used to feel worse by being alone before, it was just how things were, now it is an added pain with every ache.
On my way to work yesterday, I realized that I only had two dollars to my name, not enough to get this amazing numbing tea at Starbucks, a massage client canceled and there wasn’t another way to get money (which I wouldn’t have had the strength to work on him anyway—nor would I have gone to the doctor). Again, being alone now heightens every flaw and trial.
A few minutes before school started, one of my sixth graders and I were just going through our morning ritual—he comes to me twenty minutes early every morning so his dad can go to work, and a parent walked into my classroom. She doesn’t have any kids in my class, but is very involved in the school. She handed me a card and said that even though I don’t work with her kids that she is impressed with the work she sees me do with my kids and wanted me to know that she appreciated me being here and the work I do. Mumbling a thanks, both due to the pain in my mouth and to taken-abackness at her words, I took her card. When I open the card to a lovely, heartfelt hand written note, two gift cards fell out. A $15 card to go to the movies and a $10 card to Starbucks! In my already weakened state, I burst into tears and made it to the bathroom before my student would notice. It was an instant of perfect timing. Where I couldn’t feel much lower—physically, emotionally, lonely, failure at ‘grown-upness paying for stuff’, etc. Talk about perfect. I was so humbled and felt so grateful. Felt loved for a moment, both from her and from God—taken care of by God. I really don’t know if I could have gotten through the day without the throat numbing tea. As it was I still left early to rush to the doctor.
It was a big sacrifice--$25 bucks for a teacher that doesn’t even work with your kid. They may have done it for every teacher, they may not have—either way, it was a gift that was not required or deserved. There is no way she could have known what my life has been like this year, or more specifically this past week, or that very morning, nor how perfect her offering would rescue and bestow love on me.
There is no Arizona, and I’m beginning to think there is no America either. However, there are passing islands to let us keep swimming, and yesterday, I got to rest on one such island, and my life is a touch better today because of it.