Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: End (02/13/06)
TITLE: The End of the Day (ii)
By Al Boyce
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Many years ago, in a stressful job as a newspaper reporter, I worked with a guy who was so Type A I sometimes thought he ironed his shoelaces. Stuck to his computer monitor, where he would see it every day, was this note:
EVERY DAY HAS AN END
He'd be there some nights at 9 or 10, when I would be coming to work the graveyard shift. He'd point at the note and smile, as if he found great solace in it. I'd laugh at him and shake my head.
Tonight my head is nodding, not shaking. My eyes are trying to close, but I feel like there is something I need to wrestle with a bit.
Today was like one of those days my friend John dreaded, I think. Yet it wasn't.
Right now, at 9:00, I'm banished from our sunroom and the dubious solace of the television because that's where Myra is sleeping. She's a homeless woman who's been with us a few days now, while her husband awaits heart surgery across town. I take her to the hospital on the way to work -- at least on the week days. Today being Sunday, I took her to church first, then to the hospital, then picked her up.
Otherwise, it was a pretty typical Sunday (except that my wife is recovering from minor surgery and had to stay in bed most of the day). Cindy still typed up her personal notes to 20 or 30 homeless people so I could staple them to the bags we'd be putting food in shortly.
Me and a couple other volunteers visited three grocery stores in 20 degree weather, gathering the food they were going to throw away and putting a sandwich, bread and a dessert in each bag. We delivered the bags to the camps, picked up the 11 people who wanted to join us for church and got to the second service with 1 minute to spare.
It's God's timing always. He will stop the sun if He needs to for us to accomplish His tasks.
I found myself grinning in the back of the church service as the homeless mingled with friends at church. One got a line on a job. Another received prayer. The sermon -- about believing God when He tells us we are loved -- is perfect for one young woman we brought. She very much needs to know God's love and value it above the opinion of others. But then, don't we all need to know that?
Then it's back to our house for lunch -- an affair made a bit more chaotic because Cindy is under the weather. Then everyone heads back to their camps, while Myra and I head for the hospital and Cindy is left to tend as best she can with our 11-year-old autistic son who is showing signs of a fever.
There's time, so much time. Time to clean up the dishes, take out the trash, fix my wife something to eat and bring her ice for her healing surgical wounds. There's even time to watch part of a basketball game with my son, which seems to perk him up some.
There's time to get back to the hospital, get dinner, tuck my son in bed with some ibupropen. There's time to visit with the other homeless couple living here about their plans for work tomorrow.
A long, long day. It seemed it would never end; that I would never pull together a couple of minutes to write down these thoughts and just rest.
Now clicking clocks vie with the humming refrigerator for domination of the night air. Lights are turning off.
There's gentle snoring coming from the sunroom, where Myra has no worries about this day -- and maybe the next.
Yes, this long, long day is at an end.
And part of me is already missing it.
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