Ripple Effect: The Morning Will Always Come

March 11, 2020

Raising three teenage daughters, running a nonprofit, juggling life, trying to be a good person, involved citizen, and human being are all issues that keep me awake many more nights than I care to share.

I used to hold the superpower of sleeping soundly.

I was that young woman who constantly had to be awakened on buses and trains when she had missed her station, because she was in a blissful, deep sleep. Oh, how those days have passed!

On one recent sleepless night, I was tossing and turning, worrying about my responsibilities and loved ones.

I was anxious about the grant we really need, thinking that if we don’t get it how am I going to pay the new amazing team I had just hired. Hoping that my daughter will get through the marathon she has been training to run.

I lay in bed seriously feeling inadequate at all I do.

I moved to the sofa in the living room, then to the den, then back to my bedroom. I toss. I turn. I check my phone.

Finally, the morning came.

In the morning the craziest thing happened.
In the morning everything was okay.

So many worries. So much stress, and just like that, the new day came and lifted it all.

In those long, sleepless nights, what I know to be true is that no matter how hard, tense and long the night may seem, in the end, the morning will always come.

A student once shared with me that when he was locked up, “and the shit would get dirty” he used to tell himself,

“Dude, hang in there. Morning will come soon.”

“Sometimes, Ms.” he said. “All you can do is wait for it to get there. Sit in the shit, and know morning is on its way.”

I shared with him the sayings from the Israeli army that we used to hold on to: “There has yet to be a maniac who can stop time,” I tell him. “Every day that passed was one day less in the service.” I add, “The days always end, no matter how long they are.”

My student thought that was cool.

He then asked me if I had an Uzi (type of gun) and also how many people did I kill.

He was super disappointed when I told him none.

“When you’re locked up, time can stop, Ms.” he said.

“I tried to make sure that I separated my days. That I saw my mornings, that I held on to the morning sun, even if on the inside I couldn’t see it.”

A young woman was sitting near us listening to the conversation.

She leaned in and said, “When I was getting clean, the nights were longer than I could bear. I literally would repeat in my head ‘It’s almost over. It’s almost over. It’s almost over.’ again and again and again. One time the nurse in the rehab facility asked me what is it that I want to be over. I told her the night. You see, after the longest night, I told her, I know that the morning will always come.

Isn’t that funny? That’s just like you said. Man, I used to just wait for the morning, too. I swear everything is always easier and better in the morning.” She smiled and moved in a little closer to us.

My students look at each other.

“How long you clean?” he asked her.

“A few months,” she says.

He put his hand on her shoulder.

“You reached a morning. Good for you!”

I can’t tell you exactly why, but there was something tender and incredibly touching about their interaction.

Something simple, honest, and kind.
Out of nowhere, I started to cry.

“Ms., what’s going on?” she asked me.

“You are both my morning,” I say.

I look at these brave students of mine.
I know that the long nights of fear and anxiety running The Advot Project, my nonprofit, are not only worth it, but give me the privilege to witness the most magnificent of mornings.

I think of my children, my three beautiful girls, who, as they walk through adolescence, are dragging me through some of the longest, toughest nights I have known. I realize my job as their mom is to simply (and it’s not so simple) make it to the morning together with them in one piece.

I think of everything going on in the world.
Up from my own despair I find so much hope and light in these students of mine.

“You know what’s dope (which means really good), Ms.?” he asks. “What?” I answer.

“The morning don’t stop for no one or nothing. It will always come. Nothing can kill it. I think you are related to the morning, Ms. You, too, stop for nothing and no one. You always show up.”

Okay, so at this point I am sobbing.

“You know what?” I say.

“We all have the morning in us. We just need to learn not to give up and have the patience for it to arrive.”

Now my student is crying.

“I didn’t think I could live without using.” She looks at us and says, “Who knew it could be morning all day?”

“Okay, ladies,” he says.

“Enough with the morning shit. It’s a little too inspirational!  After every night the morning will always come.

Now, I gotta get the fuck out of here. Cause you two, you are a little too much morning for me!”

We all laugh.

“You here next week?” he asks.

“You bet!” I say.

We all split up and go our separate ways to face our different nights.

I feel encouraged.

I know that things are going to be okay, because, in the end, no matter what, the morning will always come.

Naomi Ackerman is a Mom, activist, writer, performer, and the founder and Executive Director of The Advot (ripple) Project a registered 501(c)3 that uses theatre and the arts to empower youth at risk to live their best life.

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