Story of a man, who when he was young, shot and killed a bird with a pellet gun just to see if he could. Years later the thought of that bird haunted him. He knew there was no way he could make it up to the bird, after all he couldn't unkill the bird. Instead, he fills his yard with bird feeders and bird baths and is especially sensitive to wounded animals, particularly birds. this is how he honors the bird he killed all those years ago and attempts to alleviate that birds pain by lessening the pain of other birds.
These last few weeks at work have seen me running around vainly trying to staunch the flow of pain and heartache with a band aid, and I'm failing miserably.
In my line of work I regularly see horrible things. You would think social workers would be a black-hearted, cynical and tough-skinned breed. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are ultra-sensitive souls. Most of us became social workers because we honestly believed we could change the world for the better. (Lord knows we didn't do it for the money or respect) We live our lives attempting to be the change we want to see in the world. Highly idealistic, we are shattered when reality rears its ugly head.
During my last two shifts reality didn't just rear its ugly head, it jumped up, slapped me in the face kicked me in the gut, then peed on me all the while laughing in my face. It was awful, and I'm wondering how I can ever go back knowing that reality doesn't even bother to lurk in the corners of where I work, but rather sits front and center eating donuts and mocking us all. Even after a wonderful week long cruise the thought of going back to that place still fills me with dread. The reality is I don't want to have to deal with the things I dealt with again. Ever.
The way I see it I have two options. I can quit. I don't feel like a failure, I just feel depleted. Or I can go back. I can take a lesson from the man who shot the bird. I can't save everyone. I can't change the harsh reality of the world, I can't undo the horrible things I have witnessed, but I can set out bird feeders by being a source of kindness and light. When I think of going back to work as going to set out bird feeders it doesn't feel so scary or futile. To be honest, I don't know how many bird feeders I have left in me, I know I have enough for now.