Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Thank You for What You Do

Have you ever had one of those nights where you wake up in the middle of the night and worry about something completely unrealistic and out of your control?  I did.  Last night.  And this morning was rough.  And toddlers sense that type of thing so my son had a rough morning as well.  And I was scheduled to teach my fourth new content class in six days this afternoon.  Think you know where this is going?  I sure did this morning, and boy was I wrong.  Indulge me for just a minute.

Later than I would even care to admit, I finally dropped my son off at day care.  As usual, his classmates (all but one little boys and all energetic beyond belief) made me laugh and quickly remember that Jackson is the important one in my family.  (They like to welcome Jackson, start playing with him, and then look at me and tell me bye, bye.  I am thankful that he loves it there so much and luckily do not have an easily bruised ego.)  As I was walking to the metro, I tried to gear myself up for the day ahead and was struck with the thought..."what do you do when you have these days and your job is to watch 9 toddlers all day?"  And just like that, my perspective started to shift.

Then, during my class, I had the extreme honor of teaching to two people that have one of those jobs that may involve dealing with the aftermath of a person's death on a regular basis.  And yesterday that very thing occurred and they were discussing it at break.  Once again, this time with a little more force, I was struck with the thought..."what do you do when you have these days and your job is dealing with the aftermath of a person's death?"  I was physically shaken with relief at this point, to the extent that I am pretty sure everyone in the class could see it.

And one of those class members and I shared a very special bond.  Her husband and my father were both members of the military's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team.  You know, the men and women who take apart bombs for a living?  And I spoke to her about growing up knowing what my dad had done but not really understanding it until I was in my 30's, volunteering for the USO, and walked into the hospital room of an injured EOD man with a picture of him and his daughter on the wall that looked exactly like a picture I have of my dad and I.  You know the drill..."what do you do when you have these days and your job is to take apart bombs and save others' lives?" flashes through my head.  I thought to myself that I am so thankful that my job is so easy and felt a little guilty about it.

And then as I am talking to my mom, telling her about my day and how easy my life is, I mention that it is good to have four new-content classes under my belt in six days.  And I hear a subtle intake of breath on the phone that makes me think she is thanking her lucky stars she doesn't have my job.  Just for the record, knowing that I was teaching today was the only thing that kept me going today because I was looking forward to it so much and it is so fulfilling to me.

So what I figured out today, is that if you are really lucky, as I am, there is something about your job (or your family or your community or all three) that drives your passion.  Something that makes you keep going even when you have a rough day.  And all jobs require some special skills that only certain people have.  And that I am so thankful for the people around me who make the world go round without my appreciating (or sometimes even noticing) what they do every day.

What is it about what you do (either professionally, for your family, or for your community) that drives your passion?  Who would you like to thank if you could for their contribution?