For I Am A Clown
I enter the room, wherein are a harried yet smiling mother and father and a dozen noisy, happy, and excited children. One of them spots me and shouts, Hey, a clown! Whats he doing here?
Isnt this a birthday party? I ask.
Yes, its mine! a little boy states proudly. Did you come for my party?
Indeed I did, I reply.
For I am a clown, and clowns love birthday parties.
Half an hour later, the party is winding down and I prepare to leave. The children are even more excited then when I arrived. Each one has been dazzled by small feats of magic, and each one holds his or her own individual balloon animal sculpture. The birthday child proudly poses in his gigantic balloon hat so Mom can take a polaroid picture of him standing next to the nice clown. More importantly, each and every child fills the room with happy laughter. As they should.
For I am a clown, and clowns make children laugh.
It is later still, and the laughter of children is gone, replaced by a dreary hospital corridor. My heart is heavy and the joyous party is now just a memory, pushed aside by a doctors unwelcome words. There is a floor within these sterile walls where the patients are suffering not only in body but in spirit, and my wife lies among them. Her condition has worsened and the only hope seems to lie in a new drug that works . . . most of the time; how or why, no one seems to know. But as yet, it has done nothing, and I feel hopeless and helpless. So hopeless and helpless! I want to pound the corridor wall with my fist in my deep grief and despair! But instead, I try desperately to hide my tears.
For I am a clown, and clowns are not supposed to cry.
Even so, the tears begin to flow. For while its true I am a clown, I am human too. Clowns are not supposed to cry, but humans often do. Besides, no one is watching me now are they? I quickly glance about me, to be sure that this is so. All I see is a very sad looking mother and daughter walking behind me. But the little one has caught my face and costume. Look, Mommy, a clown! her young voice squeals. Can I go and shake his hand?
Oh please, I beg silently. Not now, little girl! I dont want to be a clown right now. I can't be a clown right now!"
Ive managed to quickly hide my tears, but inside I am still crying. Inside I still feel like dying. But the little girl comes to my side, and of course I take her hand in mine and speak gently to her. I make her an animal balloon; a cat, because she likes cats and has two at home. As the little girl gives me a big hug, she smiles. As she should.
For I am a clown, and clowns make sad children smile and feel loved.
Her mother smiles too, and beckons for the little girl to come back to her side. Its time to go home now, she says softly.
Please, can I show my balloon to daddy before we go? the daughter pleads. Its a real clown balloon and it will help him get better fast. I know it will. And Mister Clown, will you visit my daddy while you are here? Hes in room 211 West, and I know hell get better fast if you can make him smile...
"For you are a clown, and clowns make sick people feel better."
I tell the child that I will try, and she skips happily off with her mother to show her daddy her new treasure. I start to leave the hospital again, but something has changed. My heart is not so heavy now. I turn to follow the girl and her mother. After all, the little girl is right. Her daddy will get better faster if a clown can make him laugh. And a heartsick clown will get better too by being the cause of that laugh. I realize now that I can push my own troubles aside while helping to erase the troubles of others. And, if I do this, my own burdens will lighten as well. I can and I will do it!
For I am a clown, and God put clowns on the earth to set aside their own troubles long enough to lighten the burdens of all His other children. And this, above all other things, is what a clown does best.
- Dave "Wheeler the Clown" Kelley
Copyright 2000 Do Not Reproduce for any reason without permission of the author
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