Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I've wondered for the past couple weeks about my motives in working at this job. It's not been fun. I am realizing that part of my uncertainty stems from blogger. I read the posts of complete strangers and what I like about it is the glimpse into someone else's life. It's like looking in open windows at night while driving down my street. I can see furniture and pictures on the wall and the occasional person in the midst of some mundane task. Once I even saw a naked lady walking across her living room. (Steve almost turned the car around so he could see.) I like looking in windows while driving. I like reading other people's ponderings. I was glued to one blog in particular, the sad reality of cancer. At work, it's kind of the same. I am looking into the window of someone's life when they are at their most difficult time. But I don't just drive by, I become an active participant, however small the role and however short the time span. They trust me and I try very hard to get it right. I've thought since I got this job that I am right where I am supposed to be. I believe that this is where God wants me and that I am making a difference to some of the folks who come through my doors. But I've been recently plagued with wondering if that's just what i want to believe and what if I'm a freak who enjoys looking into the pain of others. What if it's all hogwash and I'm just lookin' in windows? In the past couple of years almost everything in my life has changed, while it has mostly stayed the same and i know that doesn't make any sense but it's the most true statement I can make. I've always had relationship issues, believe me, I've done my time on the couch. Now in my life I have four women, four friends, who I get together with every week. We are sharing a part of our lives and it's completely new to me. Now in my life I have an amazing marriage with the same old husband. Now in my life we have "couple friends", there are dinners and visits and game playing and even a weekend trip to the beach. Now in my life, we have young adult children who I'm developing new adult friendships with. Always before in my life there have been walls erected to prohibit true intimacy. No close close friends. And I got a little stuck wondering if I'm "for real" in my relationships at home and at work. It's so easy for me to fall back into the habit of erecting barriers. Way to easy to view work families as potential stories. Easier to read blogs than to pick up the phone and call one of my girlfriends. Easier to think of a humorous tale than to think of the reality that someone's life just ended and the family is never going to be the same again. I've really questioned why i'm doing what I'm doing and I don't fully have an answer. We buried the mother of a lady who attends my church last Friday. I've spent hours with this lady over the past three weeks (it was the best planned funeral ever) but I don't really know her. I share a faith with her and it was a great experience for me to see the faith of their whole family, the hope they had even in death. But I don't really know her. I know the daughter of the beautiful lady I buried who wanted everything to be just right for her mom. But her? Not so much. Maybe it's the next step in my learning curve. Tomorrow I'm planning to call her. I'll ask how she's doing and maybe I'll even get up the nerve to see if she wants to have lunch. I've called other people the week after the funeral and one lady I've checked back in with a few times in recent months. For now I will accept that I'm not just looking in windows. That for some who come through my door, the process has been a little easier than if it were someone else sitting at my desk. I will accept that other times I really am a freak in a crazy weird job where I can do nothing but stand gaping at the incredible beings with whom I share this earth. And I guess I can also accept that sometimes a person will be changed when they leave my office. And maybe once in a while that person will be me.


Patience said...

Because you care so much. You truly care about the lives of the people who come for your help. If the time ever comes that you don't care about them anymore, then that is the time for you to consider a change in careers.

Sayre said...

That was beautiful. I don't think people are very introspective about what they do for a living much. To most people, it's a job. A way to make money for the things they REALLY want. As long as the job pays, they don't really care what it is. Unless they have a "calling". It sounds a little to me like perhaps you felt called to this job. And you're doing the best you can with it. And I'm sure the people you help are, for the most part, grateful that you are there.

I do understand that "window" thing though. There are times when I wonder if I'm really living my life or just watching someone else being me. I feel detached - like I don't feel enough to qualify as living. It's an odd sensation. Then I snap out of it and everything is okay again. Is it normal to do that???

noelle said...

Sayre, That's exactly what i was trying to say only didn't fully realize it. The detached feeling is overwhelming at times. I'm glad I'm not alone, thanks for understanding. You're also right, Patience, I do care and I do want to help others, but sometimes...no feelings, just observations. I guess it's probably mostly normal and I very likely will continue my suburban life without resorting to mayhem. ;)

Catch said...

That was so well said Noel!! In my job I deal with terminally ill people....sometimes I dont even know how I do it....but I do know I am there for them and I help to make things a little easier for them. I seriously feel this is where God wants me to be at this time in my life. If someone took the time( after I had lost someone near and dear to me) from one of our funeral homes in this town to inquire how I was doing or to have lunch I would feel very blessed....just to know that you care enough to wonder how I am doing. I feel that it is more than just a job to you...and you are doing wonderful at it. I have been afraid of illness all my life.....and then I walked into a job where I deal with it almost daily. I dont think I am in this job by accident anymore than you are. We have something to give, and at this time in our lives we are able to give it.

I dont know where you have been the past couple weeks but dont stay away so long!!!! We miss you!