Dispatch No. 4

Frazzled, A Reset, Working from Rest

Friday, November 16th:

"Do not be afraid of work that has no end." Avat de Rabbi Natan

Scott Harrison shared this quote when he was interviewed on The Robcast with Rob Bell recently and it's become somewhat of a mantra for me, grounding me when things feel daunting or overwhelming or stuck. There's a lot of those feelings packed into this job.

This has been a strange week, in that I've taken my work home with me more than I intend to. Not in the, I'm doing notes when I should be spending time with my wife sense, but my clients are in my head more than usual. I'm finding myself worrying about cases and taking note of cases in which I perceive that I am stuck and not making progress. I write about this often, and I fear that it will be boring to read about. If it's boring, it's boring though, and I'm fine with that. I would prefer to be truthful and rather dull, than to come up with some artificial thread of narrative excitement to try to keep some sort of curb appeal to this.

Contributing to my weakened resolve to separate work from life are several clients of mine who have had crises of sorts over the past week, three of whom share the same first name. This coincidence has blown my mind. Across my relatively small caseload (compared to some agencies), I happen to have three clients whose mothers chose the same name, who all happen to be melting down and declining in their ability to cope as the November rain continues to fall. I don't know if there's any sort of meaning to be found there, but I can say with all certainty that it's just one more name my wife and I won't be considering when it comes time to have children. I mentioned this coincidence to the mother of one of my clients, the name being common enough for me to share without truly disclosing any client information, and she said that the trouble is absolutely in the name.

I was talking to a client recently who was venting about how frustrated she was that everyone around her kept apologizing for how sorry they felt that she was going through a health condition which was causing considerable discomfort. She said she hated being treated like a victim, and couldn't understand why others were responding this way. We reflected that people are made uncomfortable when they don't have control over a situation, and they respond in any way they can, often by apologizing. We apologize because we naturally want to demonstrate some sort of control over the situation. If we are not able to fix the situation itself, we offer to share emotion, to adopt and shoulder some of the pain.

Monday, November 19th:

Checking back in with this dispatch to finish writing it and man, it must have been a relaxing weekend, because I don't even connect with what I was writing this past week.

I got home Friday with more work to be done and upon opening my laptop, I promptly shut it and didn't return to it until this morning. It was an excellent decision. I think that time to destress and disconnect, along with the prospect of a wonderfully short week has me feeling quite a bit better.

Ready to celebrate Thanksgiving and stock up on good vibes for the next stretch.

I'm reminded of something my pastor shared in a sermon a while back. In reference to the creation story in Genesis, my pastor commented that it's significant that on man's first day on Earth, God deemed it a day of rest and focusing. We are to work from our rest, rather than rest from our work. While that's all well and good, it certainly adds to the poetic fantastical nature of the Genesis passage. The real world can be a little bit messier than that, but it's good wisdom on the whole. Sometimes it takes putting off some work and shutting the laptop to right the cycle, but I'm ready to get back on track.