It was rather unwitting to have four holidays in one month. Someone ought to have known that it would backfire. Teachers do not want holidays during their holidays. Now that they have taken two days to rest and reflect there is a fuss. They still have two more to take… While they are reflecting, non-teaching parents get to do the same. Sure, Teachers get paid; monetarily. But how do parents show appreciation for the hard work they do with their children? Children are with their Teachers for approximately six of their waking hours Monday to Friday, while they may actually be in their parents’ company for half, or less than half that time. It is not that Teachers are expecting tokens, but when parents are doing less than their best in the molding process it can be considered a salary deduction as more time and effort have to be invested to get the desired results. Parents may want to consider showing respect for Teachers as one of the ways of increasing their salaries.

So off I went to see some of my elderly friends and ran into a Nurse who lamented the Teachers’ issue. When she was through, she admitted that she understands their perspective. Hmmm. In her case she works from seven to seven, which means she sees her son an hour before leaving for work and an hour before his bedtime. She is a reasonable sample of many parents. The inconvenience is understood, but it is also understood that Nurses lobby for Nurses, and Teachers must lobby for Teachers. To each his own. We can stop complaining now.

Well my purpose for being at the Home was certainly not to hear about Teachers. I was visiting with two persons whose relatives decided that massage should be part of their healthcare. There was Lady J, who looks as fit as a fiddle, but would do no more than lie in bed or sit on a chair. She is afraid to walk. The fear showed up after she fell a while ago and somehow decided that should she attempt to walk, she may fall again. She is a very pleasant soul who sings songs for children like: Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay… While she sang I worked on her arms and legs and upper back as she sat in a chair. Pointing her finger, she drew my attention to two men who had just passed. I looked by did not see them. I presumed that she saw two of the men who were lounging outside in the morning breeze. Then she stopped singing and smiled mentioning that we had visitors. There were four men in the room. I asked where. Right there, she pointed. I asked if they were the same men who she saw outside. No. I asked her to describe them. They were young men. Young, as in having no gray hair.

I acknowledged their presence and continued my massage. Who is to know whether the men have not been advising her not to walk? I do recall having a client who would not move from her bed because there were men guarding her and they had chains about her feet. How does the best of Massage Therapists help people to walk again when their reasons for not doing so are locked in another realm? It does seem unreal, but reality is personal and it is her reality so it is very real. Besides, I’m using MS Word to type this document and there are options for viewing it. There is Draft, Outline, Web Layout, Full Screen Reading, and Print Layout. All ways of seeing the same thing. So I am in no position to deny that the four men were in the room. They may have been in Outline view while I was only seeing Full Screen.

Another person made an entrance while I was working. A ‘real’ person. A woman who said she is 70 years old. She is also an occupant of the room. She was teary-eyed as she fretted about not having any clothes. She said her relatives did not bring any clothing for her to change and she wanted to have a bath but had nothing to put on. I looked across the room and saw labels with her name both on the chest of drawers and the wardrobe. I told her something must be in them for her. She went to look. She did not recognize any of the clothing as hers. I suggested that she took out anything that would fit and wear that. She opted for a light blue spandex vest and a white pair of pants with brown and black stripes. She disappeared in the bathroom.

When she reappeared she was in the mood for conversation. She said she finds herself looking for something, but that thing is not God. She found Him a long time ago and He walks with her daily, but there is still a void. Very interesting. She has been reading books in an attempt to find the something, and has also done much swimming and Yoga as forms of meditation to help her find the thing. No dice. She has also recognized recently that children are not selfish. She used to think so. Now she sees that they live in their own world and it is their unawareness of what is going on in the regular world that makes them seem disinterested and selfish. I told her that she might be turning into a child again if she is able to see things from their view now, and I quoted that once a man, twice a child thing. She said she has heard that quote over and over but is uncertain of its meaning. I suggested that we can look at it as the open-hearted, loving, forgiving, free attitudes of a child which are deemed to be necessary for access to the Kingdom of God.

She feels free, but in a limited way. Hmmm. As for the others, not easy to come by. One reason being that she remembers all manner of things that she would rather forget, and the memories merge with the emotions of those moments and the experiences are relived in such a real way that she cannot forgive some of what occurred which stymies the open-hearted and loving attitudes. And such is the case for many of us. We have spent most of our lives as adults, so that the childlike disposition evades us. Hope we don’t pile up outside Heaven singing: Knock, knock, knocking on Heaven’s door, but rather, seek out whoever set the protocol for access.

There was someone else I needed to see, so I bade the ladies a pleasant day and went to see Mr. A. He had a 7am appointment at the Hospital and was back in time for his massage. He is 73 years old and has two sets of stitches in his head. Based on the combined views of himself, a Nurse, a neighbor, and his daughter, I understood that he had embolism in one leg which led to a blood vessel being ruptured in the head. There was a time when he was using medication to thin the blood, maybe to allow it to bypass the clot, but now with the ruptured vessel, they squashed that prescription. Sometimes it is a bit too much for me to digest the medical experiments, especially when done on the aged.

In working with him I noticed that the tissue on his inner thigh was engorged. I sought to drain it and he said it was painful even with light touch. When I consulted with his daughter she advised that he had Prostatic Cancer and received treatment that reversed it. Very well. I suggested that the ‘treatment’ may have damaged some of the lymph vessels and thus affected the efficiency of drainage in that area, so I would need to spend more time than anticipated manually draining the leg into the groin. She was fine with that. Usually, the male client would be asked to hold his testicles while work is being done so close to it, but for Mr. A it was exhausting just lying on his back. He displayed no awkwardness or preference for my hand touching his private parts, and I did not make a deal out of it.

We did have conversation. He has been contemplating reading the Bible. I asked if he has one. Yes. A Holy Bible. Very good. What does it look like? It is large with large prints. Good. Would you be able to hold it to read? No. It is heavy. Okay. Then you would have to ask the Nurse or your visitors to read for you. That is what he was considering before requesting that it be brought from his home. Nice plan. Tell me of a Bible story. He hesitated, and hesitated. I could see the struggle to recall. Age is one thing. Surgery is another. The combination has no definition. At least he is not speaking of unseen guests…yet.

I suggested the Prodigal Son. What? Don’t you know the story of the Prodigal Son? No. I’ll blame it on his memory. Persons without a Bible have heard that story. He wanted me to tell him about it. And there I was, with the back of my hands sweeping against his scrotum, while telling a Bible story. Cant’ get any better. Anyway, I suggested that we consider that all the folks who left home in pursuit of a dream as Prodigal Sons, and that would include Jesus, the Buddha and the Prophet Mohammed. His eyes went wide. I told him the point is to not see the Prodigal Son as a rebel, but rather a passion-driven person – full of ambition. Isn’t that taking things out of context? Maybe not. Who, but the writer, knows the true context?

We also looked at the Prodigal Son and his Father as being attributes within a person; the Father being like the spirit of the person with the overview of things and full of wisdom, and the Son being the physical aspect that is driven by the five senses and acts foolishly…sometimes. As we grow older (hopefully) we come to an understanding that it is best to balance the roles of the Father and Son within, so we try merging passion with wisdom. Until such time, we operate with strong polarity, judging ourselves, and judging others. If I’m at a stage in my life where I’ve just left my parents’ home with a bag of money, then things would be ‘nice’ for me and I would have no time for ways of wisdom. Only when my money is through and the fun I’m accustomed to becomes inaccessible would my ears become alert to the callings of my Father and develop a desire to return to the things I knew.

I suggested that we look at the people in our lives that we judge and desire to change. Is it possible that in their reality they are still having fun with a bag of money? Why then would they be attracted to a straight and narrow path? Shouldn’t we allow them to go through their phases and step on the path when it is their time to do so? And if they are persuaded to join us, would they not be conflicted on the inside knowing that they are not really with us? We are all at a different place developmentally, and some of us might be on our way out while some are on the way in, therefore our behaviours will never be the same. The wiser heads who have seen the goings and comings, and know both experiences are usually silent. It is good to be bad, and it is good to be good. Likewise, it is difficult to be bad, and difficult to be good.

And so it was that a decision was made. Mr. A has decided that he would have his daughter bring his Bible so that I could read to him. And what about the massage? That too. Seems I’ll have to sprout extra hands. I told him I will not have such conversations with him at each visit. There will be times of silence too. He will still have the Bible ready.

The Nurse escorted me to the gate, still talking about Teachers. I asked: what if a Teacher is paid 10% of what the student will earn in a similar period when he/she becomes a professional rather than having a salary that has to be heavily debated when increases are due? What? I don’t know what my son will become or how much money he will make. Okay. Then now might be a good time for parents to start planning their children’s careers in case Teachers get radical about remuneration. I don’t know about that! She laughed. Sure, the majority will suffer with such a system. Maybe mothers will return to their role of being the first Teacher. Maybe what Teachers are doing is simply providing us with the opportunity to recognize that every day is a day for the counting of our blessings.