I recently had the opportunity to reflect on my life’s work. Something that I don’t often do. It was a blessing to be able to reflect. It renewed my commitment, and isn’t the Easter season a time of renewal?
When people ask me who I am, I have many different answers.
I am a Catholic
I am a mom
I am a daughter
I am a friend
I am a social worker
The whole of who I am, is all of these things together and more. My work is a very big part of who I am.
I was asked if my work impacts my personal life and vice versa.
I never really thought about that. Maybe because I don’t really separate the two. But my work does have big impact in my life.
Because of what I do (work with people who are in the midst of great struggle), I am always reminded of all I have to be grateful for. I have a roof over my head, a warm bed to sleep in, food on my table. When I meet people who do without these basic needs, I am reminded of the blessings we take for granted. Perhaps, being reminded of this so often, is a blessing in itself.
Jesus taught us to love each other, without judgement.
That is hard. I struggle with it.
I work hard every day, why don’t you? I pay all my bills, why don’t you? I try to put the welfare of my children before my own, why don’t you? I worked hard to get an education, why don’t you?
I make these judgements. After all, I am a work in progress.
But then I remember…
I had two educated and employed parents who had the great good luck to be born into the middle class with all the requisite comforts of that life. They raised me to have certain expectations in life, they taught me a work ethic, they taught me that education was important and removed barriers to get me what I needed to be successful. They provided for me so I didn’t have to worry about the basic necessities. THEY SHARED THEIR FAITH and were examples of faith and love in action. My friends and family continue to do that for me. They are, to me, helpers…social workers. They refill my tank when I am on empty. And when I am in need, I try to take their help. That is not always easy either. And then, I am reminded that being able to seek and accept help takes strength and courage. A strength that I see in my clients every day.
We don’t all have the same life experience, opportunity or gifts. We work “with what we got”. I want to always see the good in people, despite their circumstances and remember to accept them from where they are in their lives, and remember that their experiences may be very different from my own. Bumps, bruises, unexpected pitfalls, crisis or personal hardship. We are, all of us, sometimes in need.
We are an Easter people. We live in the light of the Risen Christ. We are blessed beyond measure, all of us. And because of that we are called to share what we can, whether that be time, talent or treasure. That is not just my job as a Social Worker, it is my job as a human…that’s what my Christian faith tells me. It is part of God’s plan that we lift each other up.
I am a big fan of Jason Mraz and I will share a quote from one of his songs, “Have It All.”
“May you take no effort in your being generous, sharing what you can, nothing more, nothing less.”
In this way, I want all of us to “have it all.”