December 29, 2004
As a Christian, I guess I’ve assumed that most of my “whys” won’t be answered while I am here on earth. So it amazes me when I actually see the answers unfolding before me.
After almost a year of frustration and discouragement, I landed a job with an in-home care company, one that asked for no particular skills or training. I didn’t even get a proper interview—they offered me the job sight unseen, because they needed more bodies to do the work at the time. And so, giving up dreams of actually using some of my skills and education, I accepted, gratefully, shoving my self-esteem back in the closet.
Little did I know what I was getting into.
Some things come to me as naturally as breathing. Reading is one. Writing is another. I would have never imagined that caring for people would be on that list. I don’t mean providing physical care; I mean caring about people so much that providing physical care is a natural extension of that.
For the first time in my life, I am doing something worthwhile. I am making a difference in the lives of others. I have helped some people to remain in their homes rather than go into nursing homes. I have helped others make the transition into nursing homes. I have helped people who just needed somebody there while they regained their strength. I have helped people live lives of independence that would have otherwise been impossible. But my clients have given me so much in return. I could write an entire series of essays on how much they have taught me, but client confidentiality interferes. Perhaps someday I can tell the stories, after I am long gone from this situation.
Tomorrow I go into the toughest situation yet. I am returning to my favorite client, the one I worked with longest. When I left her, she was on the mend, excitedly anticipating getting her life back. Now she is on hospice. It is going to be hard for me, but she knows and likes me, and it will make things a bit more bearable for her to have somebody familiar caring for her. In some small way, I will make a difference in her life. And that makes it all worthwhile. And now I am beginning to understand the “why.”