Yes, my title is a line from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the good one, not the creepy Johnny Depp one). And no, it's not completely random. The time seems to be flying by faster and faster, and looking ahead, it seems that things will only continue to speed up.
There, now I feel like I've said something substantial and symbolic. Although I've probably ruined it by directly stating it. My creative side is a work in progress.
So what have I been keeping busy with? The strange thing is I haven't felt overly busy, and that I feel I can take on more responsibility. I'm working on ways to do that now and somethings are coming together. I met a new SOURCE member out at the Library today to help him sign up for his first library card (he's 21) and check out his first books. He picked out two NASCAR books. He loves racing and his favorite driver is Jimmie Johnson. This young man is also deaf. Luckily my sign language is progressing and I'm able to communicate with him on a basic level. I'm realizing he is far more intelligent than my first impression of him before I knew sign language. This reaffirms the lessons I've learned so far that, in most cases, people can understand far more than most would give them credit for, simply because they can't express themselves as readily as we are used to. This young man is a joy to be around. He is so polite, patient, and happy that it makes my job really easy. We spent quite a while on the american sign language website and he helped teach me more signs. He seemed to enjoy it the most when I messed up.
I got a call today from one of our case managers who asked me if I was willing to take on another assignment. She went on to explain that one of the guys in the day center, in his 20s, really needs to exercise more and lose some weight. However, he refuses to do anything that is structured as exercise. She wanted to know if I could scrape together the time and willpower to play the Wii with him for an hour in the afternoon a couple of times a week. After much deliberation and arm twisting, I finally agreed. :-) I know the young man already and he has a big personality and is a lot of fun, so I'm sure there are good times ahead with this one.
One of the most memorable moments of my time here so far happened last Thursday. I was visiting my 14 year old with cerebral palsy, and we were having our "band practice" just before it was time for me to leave. As I stood up to go, he asked me if he could say a prayer real quick. So he, his aide, and I joined hands and bowed our heads. I can't remember his exact words, but this is pretty close - Dear Lord, I know that sometime soon I'm going to be coming to you. Then, we will walk together down streets of gold. - He then went on to pray for my safe journey home and our health. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. This boy, who had never walked a step in his life, and probably never will, was praying that he would walk someday in heaven with Christ. He said it with confidence. Then, rather than praying for his health and safety, he prayed for ours. He added another line - Lord, when it is Mike's time, take him to you in heaven and let him meet my grandma up there too. - I managed to hold myself together until I said my goodbyes and went outside, but that was an incredibly moving experience for me. I visited him in his home to help him, but he has helped me grow and opened my eyes to things without realizing he's doing it. It is things like this that make me feel so blessed to be where I am and doing what I'm doing.
Besides work, I've been dealing with a terrible sunburn since I went to the beach on Saturday and feel asleep while reading. It's gotten to the point where it is extremely itchy and driving me insane. Maybe I'll end up with a little color from this, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
We (the Mercy Volunteers) were recently featured in the Savannah Morning Journal. I wasn't interviewed because I was out on a visit when they called, but there are quotes from Regina and Linda as well as some pictures. I thought it was pretty neat until I read the article and they spelled my name wrong. Either that or there's another volunteer named Mike Grawthol running around Savannah. Anyway, a local woman read the article then called our boss asking if she could cook us dinner. So tonight we had meatloaf, cole slaw and corn bread provided by our new friend with promises of more to come! The people of Savannah are truly delightful and have made the transition very easy for us.
Now, for a sneak peek into the coming days...
Tomorrow evening we're all going to a free Step concert (the thing where people make rhythms with their hands and feet and dance) at Armstrong Atlantic State. Friday morning we've been asked to speak at the Mission and Ethics Board Meeting at the hospital. They are the people who approved the funding for us as volunteers and they want to get to know us a little bit. Friday evening we're planing on heading over to Forsyth Park for the Savannah Jazz festival for some free music. After that there are supposed to be some amazing fireworks down at the river. Saturday morning we're all volunteering at Fort Pulaski a fort built by Lieutenant Robert E. Lee in 1829 and later used in the Civil War. We're helping paint, clear trails and other random tasks to help preserve this national monument. They're providing breakfast, lunch and a free year-long pass to the fort. Should be a cool morning. Then I'm going to try to make it to Patrick's school festival. (Pat is my friend from ND who is teaching in Savannah). Supposedly, he's part of a skit and then going in the dunk tank. I may have to make sure he gets dunked at least a few times. Saturday evening is our Mercy Day Celebration (although Friday is actually Mercy Day). We're having Mass with all the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates and then getting together for a dinner at the convent. I had a great time on my only visit to the convent thus far and am very much looking forward to hanging out with the sisters again.
So we've got a hefty schedule for the next couple of days, but they're all good things. You can see why the days aren't showing any signs of slowing. Then, in October, I'm having my first visitors! I'm very excited.
Until next time...