Saturday, December 20, 2008

An Almost Unbearably True Christmas Tale

Yesterday was the final day before holiday break. I watched the clock with my breath held inside my chest the entire day. Anticipating the release that final bell would bring. The north has been unbearably frigid and for a week now the children have been cooped up inside, too cold to venture out for even 10 minutes at recess.

Time, as it is know to do, did indeed pass. At 3:30 you could see the ripples in the air as adults throughout the building released a collective sigh. While waiting for excited children to make their way onto buses and into cars that would carry them to wonderlands of Christmas adventure, I had some harsh words for a boy from a neighboring school who was banging on the door window of the bootroom, demanding someone let him in.

He was there to pick up his sisters (one of whom is in my class) and then escort them along the bitter 2 km walk home. I told him for his poor behavior he would have to wait for the girls in the alcove (outside) and that he should be treating school property with a bit more reverence.

The tears were immediate. "I've had a bad day" and then the words that broke me, dropping from his lips like frozen cubes into a stainless steel sink. "I'm so cold." And I knew immediately it was true. With quick inspection his jacket had been passed down too many times. Long beyond being the right size a year ago, sporting a broken zipper on a front with no closure. Worn in spots to rayon only.

I called to the girls who were now waiting, to wait a little longer. The boy shivered inconsolably and uncontrollably as we walked down the hall. We have a room with the antidote to the secret pain and shame that too many children experience. I crossed my fingers, silently conjuring up a remedy in the right size.

As I opened the crate I could feel my heart beat in my throat. And there it was. It didn't look as though it had ever been worn. It was better than the right size, as it still had room for the winter growth spurt that boys are known to take. "How does it feel William?" I whispered in his ear. The warmth filled us both, clinging to spaces between.

Somewhere in the span of five minutes I exchanges his tears for mine. And stoked dying embers of miracle apathy with pieces of tinder dry wood. All is not well with the world. Sometimes it is horridly out of balance. But the smallest acts can fill up rooms and people and schools and communities. And that is how the world is renewed. And the heart is awakened.

Is the magic of Christmas the warmth we are able to provide another?

Friday, December 12, 2008


A rare day off! In fact I'm officially 'sick daying' it. And my mind is free! Oh the directions my thoughts can take, they have been bound up and were starting to come undone.

Is it possible that thinking can be one's hobby? If so, it is mine. While some run away from theirs, I relish them. I want them to grow deep roots and encourage self-expression in my life. To me there is no greater freedom that to think. No one can control another's thoughts. Money can not buy them, increase them or bring them to a hault. It is a realm in which the individual has all the control.

Lately my thoughts have been concentrated on work. And that is okay. I really do love what I am doing and am finding more satisfaction than in anything else I've ever been paid to do. But my mind needs to go beyond grade 3 reflection journals and how to teach multiplication. Yet those things become so time consuming there are few minutes left over to let loose inside my own head before having to go to bed and do it all over again only hours later.

I used to always want to write my thoughts down or tell someone about them. I guess part of me is past that now. It doesn't help that so few people's brain work like mine - so expressing can become a lonely lecture. I'm more content to just let them have wings -bumping into each other in the confined space of myself.

Monday, December 08, 2008

That oh so familiar yearning is back.

Do you believe that there really are no mistakes? Or do people prone to mistake making just philosophize about shit like that to somehow bring themselves comfort and gloss over all of their fuck ups?

I'm torn.

That reminds me. Did you know the shortest verse in the bible is 'Jesus wept.'

Sunday, December 07, 2008

All day I've been wanting to sit and write yet keep finding other things to do instead. Now I'm out of words and a bit nervous they are not coming back.

I've been thinking how very much I've been someone else over the past few months. Not that it is a bad thing. Perhaps as someone else I've been much more stable and happier than who I tend to be. The things that get to me are the strangest and tiniest irritants that most other people have the good sense to overlook. Not me.

Today I want an escape plan. The real Angela is once again returning - she is always looking for the way out. Claustrophobia grows in the corners.

Sometimes I get nervous when I see an open door
Close your eyes
Clear your heart
Cut the chord
Are we human or are we dancers?
My sign is vital, my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees looking for the answers
Are we human or are we dancers?
Human, The Killers

Monday, December 01, 2008

giving cheer

Over the last few years I have struggled to find anything I really care for about Christmas. I've been an utter party pooper about any and all festivities. Last year I didn't even buy Jeremy a gift! Gee, that sounds really bad when I vocalize it on paper.

I used to love the season. And this year I am determined to love it once again. Over the weekend I even made a special trip to the city and bought something for the man that I know he is going to love - in fact, I imagine him dragging his boys down into the workshop to admire it! What might the piece de resistance be you ask... an aluminum 6 foot magnetized level. Yeah, it makes me giggle too, but I know he will believe himself truly loved when he opens it.

So to bring myself back around to embracing this season of leaving darkness and opening to the light (solstice) I have decided to celebrate primarily with gifts from World Vision (husband the exception). Cause honestly, it is all the excess that we live with that puts me a bit on the sick to stomach side of life. I recently read about girls in Afghanistan as young as 7 who are being sold into marriage (often to men in their 50's) so that their families can pay off debt and be able to feed their other children! My god, if such knowledge does not stop one dead in their tracks and give pause to be thankful, what would it take?

If you are like me, tired of the gifting and regifting of the crap we receive and don't give a shit about - think about making charitable donations in someone else's name. Someone in the world who really understands the difference between wants and needs will thank you from the depths of their heart.