Thursday, July 09, 2009

Reality Check and what I SHOULD have done about it

I complain sometimes (not ALL the time I hope since I like to think of myself as a glass is half full kind of girl) that my work is hard. Emotionally it's difficult. Mentally it's difficult. After last week which was one of the worst work weeks I have had for a while I started asking myself (again) the question of "can I fight with people for a living for the rest of my working life"? I'm not certain I will. The alternative however, is not as clear.

It was only a four day week and I got to spend the three day weekend in one of my favorite places in Washington State - Chelan.


I came back tired but recharged and felt as though I could take on what I figured would be another tough week. Monday and Tuesday were about what I expected but Wednesday was a lot easier than I had planned. As I was leaving the courthouse after my hearing (where opposing counsel didn't yell profanities at me like he did last week - that's moving in the right direction) I heard a commotion near one of the entrances. A woman was in hysterics and was crying and out of control with what I figured out eventually was panic. She had a small child and a service dog with her and the Marshalls and security personnel were assisting her in calming down in a friendly and helpful if not compassionate manner. It made me slow my step a bit to see what was going on because compassion (unless it is protection of me. THANK YOU SNOHOMISH COUNTY MARSHALLS!!!) isn't normally something you see from courthouse personnel.

What I pieced together was this woman had been on the bus and she had $300 cash on her somewhere and the cash disappeared. I don't know what the money was for but it very clearly was enough to send her into a serious spiral so it evidently was important. My heart totally broke for her. Her daughter was watching her and was clearly scared. People around her didn't know how to help her. I didn't either so I walked by.

It made me realize that my life is pretty cushy. Sure, I work hard and I worked hard to get to where I am and misplacing $300 would be very upsetting, but I also know this woman's difficulties were far greater than anything I can really imagine for myself at this point in my life. I looked at the rest of my day in a far different way.

In hindsight I wish I would have stopped and given her the money. It would have been a sacrifice for me to do it but it would have put the woman's world back upright. Who knows what that act would have meant to her. I feel really bad now that it was only in reflecting on her desperation that the idea crosses my mind. I wish I could turn back the clock and fix the problem for her.

Today I'm on the lookout for a way to correct my miscue. Jesus told us that when we ignored the poor and the hungry we basically were ignoring him. I did that yesterday and I know better. Clearly I need to focus on remembering what we have been commissioned to do for our fellow man.

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