Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When Loving Your Job Hurts

I don't even know how to get started. Today was a really hard day at work. I knew going into this field that there would be bad days. Brutal days. Agonizing days. Days that would make me wonder just what exactly I was thinking when I decided to work in social services. Today was all of those things and more.

I said earlier this morning that after a while (and I'm in my 11th year in this line of work), it seems like I've heard it all, said it all, done it all, and seen it all. As soon as I start thinking like that, something bizarre and/or terrifying comes up. And it does. Today, I tapped into a new well of tears and emotion that I didn't even know existed.

All I know is that after leaving my work day behind, I could barely manage to have my daughter more than a foot away from me. I just needed to hold her and know she was safe from the horror that spins around in this world every single day. There was no explanation I could offer to her as we sat eating dinner and tears of mine that she couldn't understand soaked the top of her head. She couldn't understand why I was hugging her so hard and why I couldn't bring myself to let her go, even after she said, "That's enough squeezing, mommy. You're squishing my nose." There was no way to explain the tears that continued to fall, long after they should have dried up and gone away.

And then I think that maybe, just maybe, the tears aren't supposed to stop. As long as they're flowing, it's a reminder that I care, that I give a damn about children who aren't even mine and that I will fight for them even when they can't fight for themselves...when their little voices have been silenced with horror and humiliation that is beyond words or comprehension, when their bodies are broken and battered, when their innocence is shattered into a million pieces. I will cry with them and for them, and cry out to God for help and somehow, someway scoop up the fragile remains and put them back together, one painful, jagged piece at a time.

Considering what they've been through, it's the least I can do for them.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

This breaks my heart! It must have been horrible. So sorry for days like this when you see the worst of human behavior.