Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I recently read a quote posted by someone on Facebook: “Allow your disappointment to form a life-affirming pearl, just as an oyster does when an irritating grain of sand gets inside its shell.” The author’s name was not posted. It got my attention.
I read the quote several times. I found it quite interesting. I thought it was a beautiful allegory. Definitely a seductive invitation to look at difficult times in a different prospective. Disgusting, annoying events or circumstances can be transformed into pleasant, fulfilling experiences.
I have witnessed quite a few of those transformations. One of my best experiences has to do with my friend Barbara, Barbie, as I call her. She is a colleague, a licensed clinical social worker, abbreviated -LCSW. But overall, she is one of my best friends.
Barbie and I met at work. She came to work at a nursing care facility that had recently hired me. There were some difficulties at that time, and months later things turned into a nightmare. Seriously. We went through a lot of commotion, chaos and we all were put under a lot of pressure. We worked long hours. Multiple projects were assigned to be completed with short deadlines. Daily meetings and close monitoring made our days exhausting, unenjoyable, and almost unbearable. At times, we shared a few tears.
Barbie and I didn't seem to have too much in common beyond the fact that we both were healthcare social workers. Barbie was tall, blonde, kind and patient. I was, to the contrary, petite, brunette, hyperactive, and often neurotic. One day in despair, complaining about our jobs, we started to talk and share our disheartenment. But we also started to talk about our personal lives. Our relationship almost immediately changed. Barbie admitted to me -after we had become close friends- that she was initially guarded due to the fact that I resembled a person she had detested in her past. Today we both find that to be one of the cutest confessions ever admitted and heard.
The truth is that the difficult work environment that we went through was the best experience that could have happened to Barbie and I. We discussed our tasks and assigned projects daily. We helped each other despite our exhaustion and burnout. And as our friendship grew, we found our career and personal aspirations were surprisingly similar in many ways. No matter what was happening around us, we knew we could trust each other, regardless of the stressful environment.
Barbie and I no longer work at the same nursing facility. We pursued different jobs, but Barbie and I talk almost daily. We meet for lunch every week. We both agree that the irritating sand of harsh circumstances formed the pearl of our shiny, strong friendship. No doubt, we became best friends forever.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
“It has to be special,” I kept thinking. March was the month to appreciate Social Workers and I wanted to come up with an innovative strategy to honor my fellow colleagues. I wanted to thank my fellow social workers who work at the hospitals and other institutions for referring new residents to the healthcare facility where I work.
“Treasures!” - came to my mind. It sounded good. Treasure boxes symbolized my idea.
Exploring my thought, I decided to search the Internet for further ideas. I typed “social worker treasures,” and viewed the results of my search. I stopped at one that caught my attention. It was a writer’s website. The word “treasures” was contained in the blog link.
The blog was not specifically about social workers, but rather how this person started her journey as a writer. It was the writer Terri Tiffany’s blog.
"What you do need to do is this: Commit. If God puts a
desire in your heart to write, find a way.”
Terri’s words were powerful. They were motivational.
“Is this a coincidence?” I wondered. I have carried a pipe dream in my mind for years to become a writer. “It's just a pipe dream,” I often reminded myself. A few days after I came across Terri’s blog, I thought again about my pipe dream.
I emailed her and told her how encouraging her words were to me, and that perhaps it was time that I start a journey as well. That evening, Terri replied to me, with inspirational thoughts. “She is precious!” I exclaimed, after reading her email.
I am thankful to Terri for her encouragement. I have definitely committed to pursue my dream. This blog is a step toward the adventure of writing.
How amazing is that while I originally searched for the word “treasure,” I ultimately found the treasure of a new journey. God works in mysterious ways. Doesn't He?
Saturday, April 3, 2010
I find myself reflecting quite often, immersed in my thoughts of events or people at the nursing home, or simply on what’s going on in town. I am a social worker and I also market the facility for future prospective residents. It has been an interesting mix.
Networking with other professionals and competing institutions brings me a rich experience. I could write a story daily, if I had the stamina and the time. However, at the end of the day I am exhausted. Although I’m willing and able to write and capture the stories in prose, when I get home, all I want is to treat my family with a delightful meal, snuggle up on the couch, and then get a good night rest. Yet, the uplifting thoughts and stories I didn’t write about remain in my mind and I awake refreshed mind, ready to excel and meet the day’s challenges.
Occasionally I wonder if there were any inspiring events at the end of my day. Sometimes I feel frustration and burnout-- not unusual for healthcare professionals. “What’s was wrong today?” I asked myself a few days ago. “Nothing inspired me today.” I was terribly annoyed. After unsuccessful care plan meetings with two unreasonable families, I was drained. “What a waste of time!”. I continued to gripe.
I shared my frustration with my husband that evening. I was so glad he listened to me-- or at least, the thought that he was listening. Perhaps it was a simple monologue. I had talked and talked. I was so thankful for his patience. He remained so peaceful when I was venting my despair, and it certainly helped decrease my distress. I concluded that there was, indeed, nothing inspirational from that day’s journey.
“Oh well,” I sighed. I wanted to leave my inner emotional turmoil behind. After getting ready for bed, I decided to check my emails first. I had a few, as usual, mostly jokes and funny stuff. One email was different from the others. My friend Melba forwarded me an email that I had actually read before. “Do little things annoy you?” was the subject. It was in essence a reflection about things or events that make you “mad or frustrated”, and how “it may just be that God is at work watching over you.”
I was perplexed. What a coincidence that this friend sent such a message that evening. “She never forwards me emails!” I recalled. “She writes personal notes occasionally.” --I was pleasantly surprised. How blessed I was that she decided to include me in her forwarded email.
She wouldn’t know it, but she was God’s angel that day. She relayed a message that reminded me that even during the most frustrating days we still can find inspiration. It was a comforting message. “May God continue to bless us with annoying things.”