The Job Description of A Social Worker-- Or Really Any Decent Human Being

In a world where it is better to have measles than to act with a little compassion, our job is not easy.

Our job is to make "hope" graspable. To liberate the thing with feathers from it’s esoteric and untouchable void. To bring it into this world in the form of a cup of coffee, an answered phone call, a picked open lock.


Our job is to never say "OK" to the shut door. Our job is to pick the rusty lock with our teeth if we have to. And when that doesn't work, our job is to rip the closed door from its holy hinges. Our job is to place all "realistic" options into a choke hold and beat low expectations to a bloody pulp until they transform between our very eyes into dreams. Our job is to represent relentless and ferocious unconditional love that will live within those we serve long after our time.


Sometimes we will appear in the form of rush hour traffic or jury duty as a reminder that evil in the world does exist. But we will also slip our way into the kindness of a stranger’s smile and the melty sherbet sunset you needed to see the night you lost everything.


We are the 50th chance. We are the porch light left on. We are the email list with no "unsubscribe" button. We are always and unapologetically here.


It is our job to shine the headlights of our beat up Hondas on all the ugly truths we find. Push ourselves to the edges of our morality. Knowing that reality is hardly black and white.


Sometimes the truth is mixed up in a laundry load with a lie. Sometimes love is disguised as a seemingly cruel act. Sometimes dignity looks more like dirty underwear strewn about the neighbors lawn than a chin held high. Sometimes professionalism sounds like volcanic sobbing and battle cries more than it looks like a tucked in shirt and a Linked In profile. Sometimes hope, real and unadulterated hope, feels like giving up on a world that we've clung to for so long.


If we look closely, we are sure to find ecstasy in ordinary life. Profound wisdom in a kitten batting a ball of worn red yarn. Untenable tragedy in a crumb too large for an ant to carry alone. Great courage in a lone dandelion seed braving the air currents independently for the first time. We may choose to see infinite winds of human emotion pouring out of our rusted teakettle. Or we may choose to simply see an anecdote to a sore throat. All seeing is a choice. But once opening our eyes to the irreverent and perplexing flakes of life, shutting them and returning to our hobbit holes of comfort and conformity will no longer be an option. Our prescription for acceptance will be expired. Our eyelids permanently held open by generations of thunderous fists that came before us. May we be forever brave enough to point our compass in the direction of compassion. May we be permanently loud enough to wake the village from its trance. May we be infinitely strong enough to not only look, but to see.