Thursday, March 24, 2011


I typically keep things pretty light hearted here, but here it goes....

Struggle.  I hear it in the voice of the child whose mother abandoned him.  In the eyes of the little boy who just can't seem to sit still.  On the cut up arms of an adolescent girl.  I sit.  And I listen.  In hopes that they can work through a piece of their struggles and give it to me.  Just a little piece of that struggle, a tiny fragment of their worry, that they can put away, tucked neatly in a drawer inside my head and out of theirs, not to interfere again, or at least for the time being.

Is being a therapist as easy as just listening?  Well obviously no.  It is a fine art involving the task of helping client's to come to a realization, discover their own ability to change, or work through a problem with a tray of sand, a glob of Play Doh, or construction paper and crayons.  Sometimes is difficult to tell if you are making any little bit of difference at all.  My friend Sayward says you just have to "hope that it sticks."  After all, that's all that you can really do.  

But listening is the hardest part.  Taking it all in.

Where do the struggles go once they are locked in the drawer inside my head?  They stay there.  They are filed neatly in a way that allows me to leave them behind.

Now, some of you may be asking yourself how I ever focus on anything else beside the little locked drawer?  I'll admit that there are some days that I leave the office barely able to breath with the heaviness of having heard the horrors of the world for an eight hour workday, but really its simple.  It is.  I walk to my car and begin thinking about all the possibility that awaits me at home.  

Oh possibility.  Possibility is such a beautiful word.  Some of the tiniest, simplest things hold the most possibility for an amazing evening/weekend at home/life.  Sewing.  Cooking.  Petting my cat.  Snuggling my husband.  Dancing in the living room.  A trip to see a ballet.  A glass of wine.  My cardio fitness class.  Laughing with my friends.  Learning about the environment from Val.  Reading a book.  A "mind numbing" TV show as my husband likes to persuade me.  Looking in Etsy shops for hours.  Antiquing.  Daydreaming about having babies (well not necessarily the having of the babies, but more the mothering part!).  Writing a blog entry.  Doing all of these things help me to become the best me that I can be and in turn, the best social worker I can be.

I do, however, have my own struggle.  I consistently teeter totter between a social obligation to contribute to the greater good of this world (being a social worker) and the loveliness and possibility of starting my own Etsy shop, blogging all day, and working in the flower shop located on my street all while cooking my husband gourmet meals and maintaining a perfect home complete with fresh flowers on the table.

But knowing that I have maybe. just maybe.  just maybe made a little fraction of a sliver of a difference in someone's world makes my world, my possibilities, my blessings, and my life so much sweeter.  

What I remind myself is that amidst the struggle of others there is also possibility for them.  For Change.  For Growth.  For  Hope.  And I see it in the eyes of the little boy who made an "A" on his math test, the letter of forgiveness written to a mother who abandoned her son, and the healing arms of the girl who hasn't cut in two months.

March is social work month.  Thanks to all my fellow social workers who surge forward in hopes, and for the possibility, of "making something stick" and improving the lives of so many.


Lindsay and Brandon


Jenny, Jackie, Steffany

And so many more.....

1 comment:

  1. Great piece! It is hard and sometimes, and I think does this work? Am I helping? And then I see kids I worked with years ago, graduating high school (And they remember me, from when they were 8 years old!, they say "hey aren't you that Earlham student that worked with me at Girls Inc.), working, and keeping their families together, seeing unwanted children adopted into loving families, and I can gain some comfort in knowing that I did make some impact on their lives, hopefully for the better.


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