I have been struggling to write for the past couple of days, trying to figure out what to say. The words rush into my head and just as quickly, they are gone. I suppose what I could start with is that I spent the holiday working.
Let me just begin by saying that I love my job with all of my big, fire-filled heart. I work in a psychiatric unit for children and adolescents. It fills me with so much joy to watch our patients get discharged and see the positive changes in them. I get awesome artwork, letters, and tons of kind words. Sometimes my job isn’t easy – I won’t lie. But when a kid approaches me and tells me how much I helped them or how I changed their perspective, it makes everything worth it. That’s just my job in a nutshell.
I worked a double on Christmas Eve. I probably played a million games of UNO during free time with the kids. I then headed to the Older Adult unit to work the most difficult shift I have ever had to work. There is always good with the bad. I laughed with cute old ladies for most of the night. They were ornery and we had some great banter. The biggest thing that struck me is that one patient stopped what she was doing and gave me a look.
“Why aren’t you with your family?” She asked me. I smiled and explained to her that my family is in Ohio and I couldn’t go home for Christmas this year. I added that it was okay because someone has to keep “you young ladies” out of trouble. She had this hysterical, infectious laugh.
“Well, you know…” She leaned in as if she were telling me a secret. “You are so appreciated here for the work you do. I have enjoyed your company.”
Wow. Do you ever just hear something like that and come out of your own head? I had been completely devastated that I couldn’t go home for Christmas. I was distracted and lost until I got to that unit and really began to enjoy myself. Sometimes we fall into these patterns of apathy and we can’t seem to break through. We fall into crisis and ask ourselves questions that keep us there.
Why is this happening to me?
What did I do to deserve this?
What if ____ was different?
There are no real answers. Shit happens to everyone. Bad things happen to people. All the time. It is what it is. We can’t change where we come from but we can change where we are going. I don’t regret spending Christmas Eve and some of Christmas at work. I was working with people who truly need comfort and care. Kids who couldn’t go home for Christmas and don’t understand why they can’t have their presents on the unit (contraband). Kids who don’t want to go home for Christmas because they don’t come from good homes.
The honest truth is, I walk outside every day knowing that I’m not having the worst day. I walk outside every day, spreading positivity and love even on bad days. And I walk into work every day, knowing there will be a challenge and I say “bring it on.”
On Wednesday, I packed up my car and drove to Ohio. Although not everything went according to plan, it worked itself out. We had a great Christmas on not-Christmas. In the words of Grampy’s favorite song,
“Que Sera, Sera. Whatever will be, will be.
The future’s not ours to see. Que Sera, Sera.”