Some shifts, the world seems against me as if some dark cosmic force with an appreciation for irony is pulling the puppet strings of everyone with whom I come in contact. My residents lash out. My body aches. The weather doesn’t cooperate for my walk to work and I spend eight hours running around in wet shoes and scrubs. Management that cares only that there are bodies on the floor, trained or not. Not enough money to pay my bills, crossing my fingers each month that nothing gets shut off. On those days it just feels…impossible.
And I have my fair share of them. Days when I question why I stick with this. Days when my patience feels short and my humor is rusty; when I begin to wonder if I genuinely love what I do or if I’ve just convinced myself of that out of this desperate need of mine to see the bright side.
Some days I’m bitter and angry and frustrated and weary and sad; my insides as covered in “yuck” as my scrubs. Those are the days that make me wish I didn’t give a damn. They make me want to scream YOU WIN, REALITY! YOU WIN, DEFEATISM! This system is beyond hopeless. These people are screwed. I am only one person and I. Can’t. Do. This. Anymore…I give up.
But then I look at the poster above my front door, the one that says going in one more round when you don’t think you can, THAT’S what makes all the difference in your life, and I lace up my sneakers, grab my stuff and head to work. Because that poster is right. Time and time again it has proven true for me.
I do not always love my job. Sometimes I resent the unending uphill battles and impossible situations that relentlessly whisper “You will fail in this”. And unless there are major changes from the top down, that is true. We will all fail because the system will eventually collapse upon itself. Still, every day I put on my scrubs and show up. I love my folks and that love has created in me a faith bigger than my resentment at my bosses, bigger than my fears of financial insecurity and bigger than the occasional despair during the rough stretches. From that faith a commitment to change the system and improve the lives of those who live and work within it has taken root. I don’t know where this commitment, this fire that oscillates between burning me and guiding me, will lead. I hope that we reach people. I hope we defy the odds. And I know that it begins with us.