Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"I help send people to the moon"

I just finished my orientation for my internship this year at Providence. It was a long couple of days in which an overwhelming amount of information was given, but I am one hundred times more excited to be working with such a great organization and to dig into the meat of the job.

In the whole orientation, the last five minutes affected me the most. The woman closing out our time shared a story. She had gone to NASA to visit and tour the site. While in the hallway she passed an older man wheeling a bucket and a mop down the hallway. In an effort to avoid the use of stereotypes and assuming this man must be a janitor, she stopped him and asked, “What is it that you do at NASA?” The man straightened his back and smiled, replying, “I help send people to the moon.” I literally got goose bumps as she shared because isn’t this what we all strive for in life? To make some sort of difference in the world? To know our actions are not lost in the daily grind? I need stories like this and reminders that our actions, no matter how small they may seem ARE making a difference in the big picture. A man can’t get to the moon on his own efforts. He NEEDS those people along the way, taking care of the details, and making a difference.

If we lose perspective on the big picture and the larger story being written, we’re likely to go out of our minds trying to save the world ourselves. Donald Miller said it best when he wrote, “The most difficult lie I have ever contended with is that life is a story about me.” We are but one small part of the story and how blessed are we to even be mentioned in the greatest story ever written.

I am really excited to start my internship. I won’t be saving lives with my own two hands as surgeons and doctors may, in fact I will be on the other side of the equation, working with people who have lost a loved one. People get thrown a little bit when I explain that I am so excited to start grief counseling. It seems like a strange thing to be excited about, but I really am looking forward to being with people in their pain and being there to help them out of the mud and mire of grief. I know I’ve shared this quote before but I presume it will be one of my favorites throughout my career as a social worker and counselor.

"This is the most profound spiritual truth I know: that even when we're most sure that love can't conquer all, it seems to anyway. It goes down into the rat hole with us, in the guise of our friends, and there it swells and comforts. It gives us second winds, third winds, hundredth winds. It struck me that I have spent so much time trying to pump my way into feeling the solace I used to feel in my parents' arms. But pumping always fails you in the end. The truth is that your spirits don’t rise until you get way down. Maybe that's because this-the mud, the bottom-is where it all rises from. Maybe without it, whatever rises would fly off or evaporate before you could even be with it for a moment. But when someone enters that valley with you, that mud, it somehow saves you again." -Anne LaMott

1 comment:

I am Kate Maxwell said...

that's awesome. i don't help send people to the moon...