Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Life is terrible and wonderful..."


Many years ago I received a card that had an obscure quote that said something along the lines of "Life is terrifying and glorious, beautiful and heartbreaking, awesome and dreadful, etc.. " (of course, I added the etc. This is a very loose translation.)
Anyway, the gist of it was "... the best of times and the worst of times" and no, I'm not just going to type one quote after another. I'm getting to my point.
See Frozen River. It is a powerful movie about the above. Don said, "I feel so bad for these characters." They are an array of the desperate,the down and out, they just need a break after, I'm sure, making many bad choices and just being victims of their circumstance.
There are sweet glimmers of miracles, tender mercies if you will, and love and hope.
Sitting , watching the movie capped my day. I considered an incident earlier in the day.
I tutor a first grader. A big first grader. This kid looks like a third grader. He is beautiful but I have seen his demeanor, appearance and attitude change through the course of the school year. He has gone from a clean, well cared for child to, well, something less than that. Who knows what is going on at home. He always walks as though his feet hurt. I would guess he has flat feet.
"Do your feet hurt?"
"Yes"
"Stop here for a minute", I say as we reach the stair landing. Leaning over, I use my thumb to push on the toe of his shoe, as I did my own children's when we frequently shopped for new ones. As I suspect, they are way too big for him. Shoes that fit well, with some arch support would help, as would a mother who would tie them up tight after helping him dress in clean clothes, after a bath, after a night in his very own bed.
After our lesson, I remind him to put his flash cards in his backpack.
"I don't have one."
"What do you mean? Why don't you have a backpack?"
"I lost it."
"Well, tell your teacher!" We have a surplus packed away in boxes on the stage. Leftovers from the first day of school, so generously provided by Costco.
"I did..."
Well, by hell, I may not be able to buy this boy a pair of shoes but I can get him a backpack easily enough. I deliver the backpack, freed from its plastic wrapper and adorned with his name, and we hang it on the long row of hooks among the other coats, sweatshirts and backpacks.
After school, I spy him carefully placing his homework folder inside, zipping it up. He pauses, just for a tiny moment, to stand back and admire it.
They are an array of the down and out...victims of their circumstance.

5 comments:

Barry Cann said...

I think I wanna see that movie. First, though, I wanna see Sunshine Cleaning Service.

Breezy said...

you made me cry...

Brandon and Michelle Day said...

I love that story!!

lifeinredshoes said...

He is but 1 among many, bless your heart.

kelly said...

ohhh... he sounds like such a cute little boy!!!! he reminded me of raymond, the boy i nannied for. but his poor condition was due to his terrible nanny (aka me) lol