I’m only two weeks in at the new job and it’s already one of those things you feel in your gut is the right thing. Last Tuesday night we had a screening of the short documentary film “Duk County: Peace is in Sight” and a Q&A with John Dau at the ArtRage Gallery in Syracuse and I was humbled and touched to be a part of the experience.
First of all, there was not a dry eye in the room, including my own, as the film concluded. From the story of the woman whose granddaughter led her to the village to have her sight restored and, upon seeing her granddaughter for the first time, danced and sang for joy, to the coming together of different tribe members who have been in conflict for years, you cannot help but be moved. In the question and answer afterwards John shared a story of forgiveness and looking to the future instead of the past when he told the crowd that the clinic is currently serving the children of the men who raided it last year. He is a profoundly decent man who has experienced bitter hardships and hasn’t succumbed to feelings of resentment, anger, etc. Then John introduced the other staff and volunteers at the event, including me, and it struck me for the first time that I was a part of the team, and the importance of the work.
Even if my role is working on the website, answering general email inquiries, processing thank you letters, etc., I was part of the team. By taking over this I’m helping to free up the time of others, or strengthening the relationship with donors, or generating new donations with activity on Facebook, Twitter, email campaigns, etc. To see what the needs of the clinic are and how much even small donations can help I’m reminded that this isn’t just another job. As much as I’ve felt good about the work I’ve done in the past, it simply cannot compare. After John’s Q & A a woman came up to the table where I was selling copies of the movie, taking donations, etc. and asked if she could hug me. She made a donation and just wanted to show her appreciation for the work that we were doing. It was a unique experience- how often do you get hugged for your job?
Part of my recovery has been finding something to do that I enjoy and that I can take pride in. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have had the job working with my father and brother in the family business and make some contributions, but the reality is that it probably wasn’t the right fit long-term. And so taking this step is part of moving out from the shadow of the depression and the anxiety that dominated me for too long- to get myself into a better place with the work I do. Being able to feel good about what you do and take pride in the work is important. So I have a new motto with this job- “Feel the love, embrace the call.”