The day after Boxing Day I got sick. It kind of crept up and then hit me like a ton of bricks. I became lethargic and congested, with a nasty cough to boot. Good times.

In truth though, it was actually kind of good. I was forced to do very little. I napped. I drank a lot of tea. I discovered that hot toddies might be my favourite medication. I worked on a puzzle, strummed on a ukelele and ate leftovers. Not that I would ever wish my child to be sick, but she got it too which meant she was content to be cozy.

Then all of a sudden it was January and time to get back to work. I’m usually ready to return to routine, this time not so much. I found myself getting anxious about everything I have to do and wishing that I could just stay curled up under a blanket. I felt unnerved.

So today as I made my way to the drop-in I kept thinking, how am I going to do this? How am I going to keep up with the pace? When are people going to realize I have no idea what I’m doing? Ouch.

When I arrived I was greeted by two friends from the street who helped me unload the car. I was handed a belated Christmas gift from a woman struggling with much: she crafted me a bird out of clay. So beautiful. Person after person talked about how much they missed PNC when we closed for the holidays. A new person to the community helped with dishes (that got done in record time) and then poured out his heart to me. As I looked at this big guy drying his tear-filled eyes, listening to how he wants to “get his life sorted out. There’s no such thing as a completely fresh start, but I want something like it”, I thought: I’m glad I didn’t stay under the blanket.

I needed to be reminded of the gift my work is to me. In the process I was told I mattered to it. It is a safe place to come no matter how I’m feeling.

I am so thankful and also kind of beat. Hot toddies here I come.