Thursday, August 9, 2007

Mowing lawns

I have a stressful job. I knew it was going to be stressful when I started studying social work in school. I knew that I would struggle with "taking it home" with me. I knew that sometimes I would cry over the awful things I'd see. I knew all this, but I did it anyway. Some days are great. Some days are rewarding and fulfilling. Some days I feel like I am making a difference and there is hope and things will be better for whoever I am working with. Some days aren't like that at all. Some days are filled with heartache and sorrow- it's hardly ever mine, but I feel it just the same. It's hard to hear that a teenage girl you are working with is pregnant or that someone you are helping gets evicted and has no where to go. It's hard to go home at night and live my easy little life when I know the problems I am walking away from are not going away for the other person.

Sometimes I dream about my work. I worry about it in my sleep. I have a confession, when I look out the window and I see someone mowing a lawn for a living- I am so jealous. Now I am sure that being a lawn mower has it's stresses and that I would hate many things about the job, but one thing I do know is that once a patch of grass is mowed, the lawn mower doesn't think about that patch until they are mowing it again. They don't dream about that patch of grass or worry whether or not it is going to be ok. They don't shed tears over that patch of grass. That is what I envy.

I wouldn't change my career. I am far too invested. I just struggle sometimes. I complain about my life or the things that I lack or desire that I don't have, but I have a good life. I have a family that is functional and loving (most days). I have money to pay my bills. I have food to eat and clean clothes to wear. I have appropriate social skills and I can take care of myself. I have the gospel and I understand why that is so important.

I would probably be a terrible lawn mower anyway.


Sarita said...

Bless your heart Angie. said...

We all have these moments, at least I know I do (that is why I came up with the ThomCarter Rules).

Anyway, I was filling like this early this week and I didn't know what to do so I went home and listened to the Beatles . . . that worked.

Marie said...

I think there's power in feeling sorrow for someone when there's nothing more you can do for them. Actual power -- not just relief from guilt. God asks us to fast, not just give fast offerings, and I think that's because there's actual power in trying to take on yourself some of someone else's burden of sorrow, trying to understand it somewhat, even if you can't take away their eviction notice, even if it makes zero difference in their actual physical suffering. Don't we often praise Christ for "understanding" our trials, even when he chooses not to take them away? Isn't that part of what we value in him as our Savior -- that sympathy? And maybe that's why "lightmindedness" is considered a problem in God's view? Because we're refusing to consider the world's sorrow?

Not that it's healthy to bring the pain home with you every day just because you chose a socially-minded profession -- there's such a thing as burnout. :)