I realized something incredible the other day, as a man who struggles with severe addictions and homelessness reached out and dropped a marble into my hand, everyone has something to give.
I volunteer at a clinic in Saskatoon called SWITCH.
It’s an initiative between the university and a community clinic. Medical students and pre-med students get a chance to work in the community, and people in the community who cannot access services during the day get extended weekday and weekend clinic hours.
It’s great, I’m not a student, but the clinic people like my interest in health and how much I like helping in a community of people who struggle in poverty, many with addictions and other mental health troubles.
One client who I’d never met before came shuffling into the clinic waiting room, plunked himself down in the chair next to me and introduced himself.
We spent the better part of the morning talking about life, where he was from, what he had scene, what I was doing in Saskatoon, why I left B.C. It was great, we shared lunch together that is part of the programming at the clinic, and he was smiling.
When it came time to leave, the man pulled himself back up to his feet and shook my hand. Then he paused for a minute, and reached into the pocket of his torn, faux-leather jacket – with one arm held together by duct tape. He pulled out something and motioned for me to hold out my hand.
I started telling him that I didn’t need anything from him, that I enjoyed our conversation. His eyes made me stop. I help out my hand. He dropped on to my outstretched palm the clear, marble-like stone, similar to the ones that someone would have on the bottom of an aquarium.
He smiled and shuffled out of the clinic again. I haven’t seen him since.
The stone marble sits on the corner of the radio in my kitchen, a reminder every morning that everyone has something to give.