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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Common Ground – less than 60 days

Mom's Football Clinic - Hickman High School 
As these days pass, and I prepare for my separation from my current assignment, I have been practicing placing more attention on how I show up and what I have left to offer. These nights I find that I am more tired than I remember being in the recent past. Some nights are absolutely exhausting – both the long dragging moments and the attitudes I must face each shift. And yes, I must face them. Sad, hurtful, angry, disparaging words are uttered almost constantly. My prayer is that each person will open to the lesson they need to learn from their experience and travel on – including me.
How do I bless those who are so unkind and leave them to their own paths?  How do I let go on any need to shift the energy, yet remain committed to peace in my heart and life? What do I have left to share?

We all want to love, be loved and feel that we matter. I know I do. Once I interviewed for a position and when they asked what my previous employers would say about me, I stated that they would say they loved me. Yes, I am dependable, reliable, accountable, supportive, committed and available, but more than that, I am loveable. I have worked in spaces where I absolutely loved my work, my job, and the people I shared time with. And they loved me. And I knew so. And I remember. It mattered and I mattered.

How can I show my co-workers that they matter? It not only matters what they do, but they matter as humans, and we are here in a shared experience?

It’s not that there haven’t been all manner of schemes devised to convey this point, but it does not come across as genuine. Even the staff morale committee struggles to keep members. Why? Because, in general, we do not believe we matter. We feel as though we are interchangeable disposable cogs in a wheel. Even the highly paid licensed staff are worked beyond capacity, with mandatory overages, little relief, and absolutely no consideration for personal or professional exhaustion. Some nights when I watch them struggle I understand even more deeply that there is just little left to care for themselves. Some manage, but most fall far afield. 

On most nights, for much of the shift, I feel as if I do not matter. I know there are tasks that I complete that if I were not there would have to be tended by the licensed staff, and that my presence is a convenience to the process, but really, not me. It is not me that matters. If I were gone, someone else would step in and continue on. Sadly, it’s not personal. Or perhaps, thankfully, we are all equally mistreated. The entire situation is less than encouraging. Fortunately, there are those who remain committed to offering and holding out their best for the patients and families we serve. And this is service work. 

In response to my questions, I decided to offer more service to my co-workers, patients, and their families. I choose to offer a “Yes.” whenever possible and to respond to each request as fully as possible. This approach is different as in the past I have deferred to the staff responsible for completing a task. Now, if I am able, I do it myself. 

I can’t imagine that I do not matter. I have no space in my understanding for the idea, regardless of the feelings. And the reality is that I do matter. When I returned from my vacation, several staff stated that they missed me. I was surprised. I thanked them for sharing that they noticed my absence. This is a gem of blessing, an opening for me to notice that there are a few I will carry with me when I leave – in my heart, if not personally.

Some nights I feel transformation taking  place. I honor the changes and hold to my knowing. I am ready to move on. I am clear that the path is open and no design has been laid. I thought I could see at least an inkling of what might be next but the more I try to shape up a plan, the more information I receive to just let go and be. The moments of fear are gentler and pass quickly. Sometimes the panic of societal lies (What if…?  How will you…? How can you?), the songs of insecurity, the grasp of stability, jingle in my brain, but I remember that I  get to live my life fully and freely regardless of other people’s nay saying and fears. Besides, as I step out into the unknown I show it is safe for others to do the same.

If you feel froggy, jump! (Thanks, Dad!)

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