Sometimes your life seems like a plain with a smooth and well trodden path, like pebbles washed ashore by many waves.
At other times, it seems like a rocky mountain, full of unexpected twists and turns, sharp edges and boulders meant to make you stumble.
When the going gets tough (the tough do get going), but the not so tough, even the kind of tough, need some reassurance and hope that they will make it somehow.
I work as an Occupational Therapist and work with babies who need help to grow and become their best possible selves.
This is something I wrote a while back, on why I go for work and what drives me. I hope you find some answers too…..
“She sat on the stairs and buried her head in her hands. She needed to calm down; she has had a bad day. She had made a mistake. She had given a patient a wrong report and had been reprimanded by her supervisor. She had then taken too much time with one patient who needed a listening ear and had been behind the schedule. The last patient had waited for too long and had been angry and frustrated. She longed for some rest. But she knew that the moment she stepped back home there would be so many demands placed on her. There would be four tiny hands wringing for attention, four empty stomachs to feed and the ever prevailing accusations that working women face- that they were not giving their best to the family.
She so desperately needed rest. She remembered a story she had heard in her childhood about how a prophet called Elijah had been so tired doing God’s work, that all he had wanted to do was die. She knew how he had felt. She remembered a song often sung in the chapel, “Those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed- They will rise on wings like eagles, they will run and not get weary, they will walk and not grow weak.” She wondered why she was weary and weak. Did she not trust the Lord enough?
She felt a soft hand on her shoulder. It must have been an angel really; it was her friend, someone she hadn’t kept in touch with for some time. She was not in a mood for small talk, she did not want to smile or ask about the kids. The smiling eyes understood. “I’ve had a bad day”, she said. The angel did not probe or question, but she felt she could tell her about the things that have been happening in her life over the past few days.
She told her about the child who she had looked after from birth who seemed to be doing fine, when he developed a seizure disorder right after his 1st birthday. She told her about the beautiful, young muslim lady with the unshed tears in her eyes, as she had to break the news that her lovely daughter would never walk. She told her about the mother who carried her 6 year old cerebral palsied child atop her pregnant stomach. She always came by bus to the hospital alone.
She shared how the couple who had waited for this child for 18 years broke down, as he was pronounced dead. She told her about her colleague who was waiting and praying every month for an affirmation of life within her- but it didn’t come. She talked about the frustrations of those around her- how everyone was struggling to find some meaning in life. She talked about the abusive marital relationships that so many women were entangled in and how she felt so helpless.
The angel paused, she felt a squeeze in her shoulder- warm and supportive. Then she asked, “ Where there any happy moments?”
She thought for a while. Then she remembered how the baby weighing just 550gms had smiled in her sleep as she tucked her in. She also remembered the first smile on the face of a distraught mother, not because her baby was better, but because someone had bothered to listen to her story. She remembered the first unsteady, shaky step that the hemiplegic child took towards her and the surprise on the child’s face- she could do it after all! She remembered how they had laughed at the prank one colleague had played on her. She saw in her mind, the rough hands of the grandmother taking care of the precious unwanted granddaughter. She remembered distantly the voice in the wilderness,” The hills will become a plain, and the rough country will be made smooth. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind will see it.”
As she talked, she realized that she had grown wings, she double checked to make sure her hands were still there.” I know why I am working here”, she told the angel. “Yes”, said the holy one, ”You are the most important sheep of his pasture.” “I made a commitment” said she, “I promised I would not quit even when the path gets steeper.” “ Commitment is not a roar- It is that little voice at the end of the day that says- I’ll try again tomorrow.”
And she was ready to fly again.”