I'm getting ready for a conference about hope. I've been doing some of the most challenging thinking I've ever done about that subject. At risk of giving away the goods, I'll save the rest for post-conference. However, just for fun, anyone who'd like to respond and tell me what hope means to you, I'd be pleased as punch. Just comment, and if you don't wish me to publish your words, say so.
That done, I've been thinking that I haven't said a whole lot on my blog about my work. I've meant to a thousand times because I really love my work, and find daily something challenging and enriching about it. I often think, "I gotta blog about this." and then life takes over and the moment of profundity gets swept away. I hate that.
I work in a business that can "take a lot out of you" if you do your job well. Assisted Living is a beautiful concept. Every day I come to work and bring joy to someone's life. Every day, I help someone, encourage someone, bring someone something they need. Practically, my job as activities coordinator means that I also provide entertainment, challenge (mental and physical) and general times of enjoyment. "Chancellor of Fun" I like to think. I suppose I could go to work each day and mechanically do the steps of my job. I may even accomplish nearly the same results. However, I just can't keep from involving my heart. There are 63 residents at the assisted living home where I work. Sixty three people to love, care for, entertain, serve, be concerned about, and generally allow into my business. Part of my job means sharing my life with them, and getting involved in theirs.
Right now for me, this means at least ten conversations a day about the size and general shape of my belly, how my children are doing in school, how much salt I ate today, and whether or not I'm getting enough rest. Not to mention at least ten more conversations about my marriage, since my husband also works here as the chef. When am I going to fatten him up? Is he working tomorrow and if so will he make me scones for breakfast?
Doing my job well means being available to hug somebody when I'd rather not be touched. It means listening to a story I've heard no less than fifty times before, but listening like it's the first time. It means showing respect to an elder who may sometimes act like a child. It means lending dignity to undignified aging processes. It means letting myself really love a lot of other people, whether or not they love me in return. All heavy and emotionally complicated situations.
Not that the job is without reward. The rewards are also rich and abundant. For one thing, our baby will be born to a houseful of ma maws and pa pas who have been eagerly expecting him. My children already get covered with hugs and giggles when they are here. Plus, smiles look so beautiful on wrinkled faces...especially knowing I helped put them there. Laughter is abundant and wisdom oozes from every nook and cranny. Reminders of what is truly important in life are everywhere, every day.
What strikes me over and over again is that I only took a job in assisted living because I had been left alone with my children and was about to starve. I never expected to get something absolutely perfect for me. SOmething I would enjoy every moment of.
Not every moment is easy, but every one is worth it. So hopefully for a while I'll be blogging on the every day stuff, the every day gorgeousness that is my life. The beautiful, challenging, and noteworthy moments that I've too often let pass me by.