Working in a setting and a field in which I have the opportunity to connect with others, earn their trust, and witness their reality is a gift. In the last few months and even more so recently, I see it can be difficult, but not in the way that you may first guess. Certainly, I am challenged to find ways to connect across age, class, ethnicity and gender. Those are challenges to expect every moment in each interaction. The unexpected is looking directly into my own moral standards and questioning if I am “crazy”, “working”, “living” or if possible a combination of all three.
I am empathizing, accepting that there is a place and a time, in which behavior, otherwise deemed reprehensible by all social standards, is realistic, and one viable option in the emotionally complex arena of a person’s reality. I cannot say that I would do the same thing if put in a similar or the identical situation but I can see the possibility and viability of following the presented course of action.
There are no judgments, no right or wrong, but only how we got to be there sitting across from each other, standing with steel and glass between us, or in the chaos of a unsafe “yard”. The challenge appears to me as a question: what is wrong with me that I can see the response and the point of view and empathize and accept the person?
I raise the question to myself silently like an axe, and my answer just forces me to pause rather than to strike down. How can I judge my own experience if I am no more willing to do it in the course of my “work”? Despite calling myself to the executioner’s block on a daily basis for fear that I am either truly a bit “crazy’, far too open, or challenging my worldview again and accepting the change, as usual, I accept the possibility that I am a bit of all three.
This is “living”, immersed in a complex array of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as witness and agent. Open, curious, questioning, and feeling always with hope I continue to step forward. With a non-judgmental position, I find myself accepting behaviors, which might otherwise have shocked or appalled me or another person. However, they do not.
I have not been there. I have witnessed the reliving of the experience through words. I take the word, thought, and emotions expressed into my waking life and create the world within my imagination and in my emotional range. I expand my willingness and capability of understanding the most complex and difficult experiences each time I am open to a person and accepting of their life experiences and view of reality.
Through living those experiences, a major transformation within a person profoundly alters the course of their history and future. By witnessing this experience and the transformation within a person, I have altered the course of my history and future…willingly.
Let me simplify for the sake of discussion: among other things, like for example, attempting to assist a person in gathering other foreseeable options for future actions in those, similar or unfamiliar situations. I am accepting the totality of the person’s experience without judgment.
This is “working”?
Maybe. But more so, this is an “honor”.