Jan 30, 2017

Circadian Rhythms

Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism's environment. They are found in most living things, including animals, plants and many tiny microbes.

Time, the mental clock, the body clock, the circadian rhythms, mine are all OFF, confused, still on a schedule 5 hours ahead. 

Sometimes it takes a few days, sometimes longer to get myself back in the Eastern Time zone rhythm.  Today I’m wide awake at 3:30am.  Last night I slept the soundest from 6pm to 8pm. 

The trip to Ghana this time impacted me physically more than any of my prior 9 visits. The “door to door,” 22 hour journey on the way back, Accra to Atlanta via JFK acquainted me with a new experience and realization: my age, my 58, soon to be 59 years of life.

It’s all good, no issues other than the reality that I have to make time and space for getting back to the proper schedule and rhythms of wake and sleep. I’ve always required 8 hours of sleep to function and I have to adjust for whatever time it takes to get back on schedule. 

I knew this trip home was a bit different, Saturday all day I was in a fog, my mind not wanting to or capable of processing or considering anything difficult or challenging. I rested most of the day in my Nick and Nora pajamas.

It’s also the experience; in a very short time, Friday to Friday, the life, the details, the smell, the sounds, everything in Ghana markedly different: climate, language, landscape, and then there is the children. 

Being with them after a 15 month lapse was emotional. 

My heart filled with joy at seeing all of them, the joy palpable, racing through my body, those first 20 or 30 minutes at the school on Saturday when we first arrived, surreal. Whenever I see the images in my mind, the memories now will only play back in slow motion.

The children growing, their tiny lives progressing, evolving everyday towards a future, towards the transition from child to adolescent, to one day, young adult.  And because I think way too much, I wonder and question and challenge all that I know about them, their backgrounds, some have very difficult lives away from the school.

Will they succeed ? Will they have a better chance because they can read and write? What will it take for one or two or ten or all of them to make it all the way to Senior High School and graduate?  

For the children that I met in kindergarden back in 2011, (who are now in 4th grade), the graduation from high school would be in the year 2025. 

What will the world be like in 2025 ? The world at large, Ghana, the continent of Africa, the US, the Middle East, the world in their villages, their townships, the world in our cities in the US, our neighborhoods, our backyards ? 

The world in our hearts and minds.  

And all of this amidst the executive orders of our new president in the US, especially the ban on entry to the US. The fire hose of hate, confusion, vitriol, rancor, prejudice, politics, power, flooding hearts, minds all over the world. 

What next ? 

Civil discourse, reasoning, listening, understanding, loving, extending a hand, an embrace, the capacity for mankind to err on the side of love and goodness and forgiveness, almost foreign.

No government can govern or rule our individual hearts !