Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Here's Your Sign

I've been a social worker with hospice for almost eleven years now. Every then and again, I start to feel tired and weary. I wonder "What am I doing here?" "Am I really making a difference?" "Do I need to do something else?"

And it never fails. Just when I think I have reached the end of my rope, God sends signs to me just when I need them. The people He puts into my path are not-so-subtle reminders that I am where I need to be.

For the past few weeks, I've been feeling worn and burned out. I had hit one of my slides when I start to wonder if my purpose at hospice has run its course. And then it happened.

I was at the grocery store yesterday, and I heard a familiar voice say "Excuse me." I looked up, and it was Bonnie, the wife of a former patient who had died five years ago. She grabbed me and hugged me, and she started to cry. We stood in the produce department for about twenty minutes, and I listened as she talked about her husband and how much she missed him. She was able to recall things that I had done for her husband and her (things that I had forgotten about), and she was very grateful...even after five years.

Today, I went to the funeral of a patient who died over the weekend. His wife, Mary, hugged me. Next thing I knew, her daughter (whom I had never met until today) was hugging me and thanking me for everything I had done for her mother. Evidently, Mary had been talking to her about me. Mary's sister and brother-in-law approached me and hugged me. I had had only a few conversations with them, but apparently, something I did or said meant something to them.

At this same funeral, I ran into the friend of another patient of mine who died several months ago. This lady also knew Mary and her husband. I had only met her once, but she remembered me. She hugged me and said that when Mary told her that her social worker's name was Pam, she told her "you will be in good hands." As I was walking back to my car after the funeral, I said quietly under my breath, "Thank you, God. I needed that."

Tonight, I'm feeling affirmed and re-energized. The funny thing is that I always forget that God does this for me. I never realize that I need it, and I never know to ask for it. Yet He gives it to me anyway. I always think, "Oh yeah! He does do this, doesn't He?"

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