I'll write about Easter soon, before I forget it. Really. Although today is Thursday, it is my Easter Monday and I took the day off. I spent two hours this morning at a workshop on "Vicarious Trauma." Doesn't that sound like a load of fun?
The workshop was sponsored by the Domestic Violence Center where I volunteer a few hours a month as a chaplain to the clients (and sometimes the staff). The main point? People who work in helping professions have a peculiar hazardous condition that comes with the job: we tend to take on the suffering of others. That "taking on" can go in different directions. Either one puts up the wall and nothing touches the soul, and we lose touch with our humanity, or we go the other way and overreact to things without knowing why.
Why go to a workshop like this on a day off (when it was SNOWING, for heaven's sake, at least in and around the area!)? It actually came as a result of Easter, the day I juggled three church services and three death notifications. There were two more deaths on Monday and another on Tuesday. Wednesday I looked at the log I keep online at work of the death notifications that we do. From late February through yesterday, there were more than 2 dozen deaths. That included my good friend Paul and a woman who was on the custody staff for years who died after surgery.
I checked my innards and I said, "Self, it's time for a little outside help here."
And that's why I went to the workshop.
It was good. And I'm shaking off the stiff shoulders, listening to classical music so I don't have to strain to understand the lyrics, and reading through a pile of entries for a writing competition. The soundtrack of "Juno" is playing in the car--and I love those lyrics.
Wednesday in my office, I pulled a CD off the shelf and set it to play. Several times over the next few hours, men appeared at my door, puzzled looks on their faces. "It's a Meatloaf kind of day" was the only explanation I gave them. I got caught once singing along, "Life is a lemon and I want my money back!" Not that I was feeling that way exactly, but they were big loud words and I was having big loud feelings. (Same explanation I give to the guys who are deep in a conversation with me and swear, and immediately apologize. Sometimes those are the only words big enough to capture the feelings...)