“I need more rest,” I mumbled as I rolled over at 6:10 a.m. After returning to work on Monday following a brief flare-up, I pushed my body hard. I walked more than 7 thousand steps a day. Then, on Thursday, I stood for an hour and a half at a dual baby shower for two co-workers/ friends. So, I wanted to sleep in to rest my weary bones but I couldn’t.
“I gotta get up and go,” I mumbled.
An hour passed before I slumped onto the floor and dragged myself to the bathroom.
“I have a half hour to get dressed, get to the bus, NJ transit and then the 3 train uptown to the Salvation Army in Harlem. Today is the annual Disney Voluntears Thanksgiving holiday meal giveaway and I won’t miss it.”
I was walking as fast as I could through New York Penn Station. I was moving so quickly my cane slid a couple of times. I’d heard there was signal trouble on the subway. I knew I had to speed up or I’d be terribly late.
“You don’t need that cane sistah. You’re moving fast,” said a man as he smiled at me. “have a good Saturday beautiful. I hope you make someone’s day like you made mine.”
“Thank you! I hope so,” I said as I continued on my way.
Two stops before train slowly chugged into the Harlem Hospital/Schomburg Library stop (135th Street), a man named Juan got on the train. He was missing a hand, his arm was in a sling and his leg was bandaged.
“I’m not begging or looking for a handout. I’m searching for encouragement. Someone to lift me up when I am down. Someone did that for you to get to where you are. I’ve been through a lot as you can see. Now, I’m looking for a job so I can be there for my daughter. She looks to me and I’m looking to one of you. If you can help me, please do. If not, say a kind word,” said Juan.
“I don’t have a job for you but I have two dollars,” I replied. “It’s a start to getting on your feet.”
“Thank you,” replied Juan, glancing down at my cane. “Respect to you. I hope whatever is wrong with your leg gets better!
Three other people also extended money and up lifting words to Juan before I got off the train with a smile on my face (which I don’t like to have in NYC).
I remained cheerful as I stood for four hours handing out green peppers, yams and all the trimmings to families in need. The ache in my back and leg couldn’t erase the joy I felt volunteering and hearing thank you and happy holidays from the people we helped.
P.S. on my way home a group of religious people were singing. One of them handed me a pamphlet that said, “Heaven, how do you expect to get there?” I don’t know but I hope towards earning entrance.
#disability #autoimmunedisease #chronicillness #chronicpain #invisibleillness #spoonies #igg4 #thanksgiving #harlem #SalvationArmy #volunteering