Someone asked me the other day if I held a management position at my day job (it’s actually a night job). Makes sense, considering I’ve been at the retirement place for 23 years, and the American Dream, interpreted as it is today, is the formula we’re expected to follow. But the answer for me is always an easy NO for several reasons. Mostly, management should be for people interested in the administrative world, which is not for me. So, is it a dead end?
Earlier on, when the opportunity to move up the ladder was suggested to me, I let it be known I’m a doer (but thank you for the confidence).
Working at night with little or no team for support can be challenging, but it’s also an introvert’s dream. We hold the fort together free-spirited style. Sometimes it’s three emergencies at once, and sometimes there are long stretches to twiddle our thumbs. I’ve chased a dementia-inflicted resident down in the snow at 1am, I’ve filled concentrators in oxygen tanks (I’m not medical staff, but I’ve learned a lot of random things because there was no one else to do them), I’ve been given private musical performances in apartments, I’ve helped an intoxicated artist track down a mysterious beeping noise in his apartment, which ended up being the bad language censor from his TV. He was mighty drunk and boy, did we have a good laugh.
I’ve seen the culmination of many life stories and how the hurt or the healed things manifest themselves toward the end. I’ve laughed with those who see life as one big comedy, and I’ve been with people as they lay dying. I’ve heard a woman whisper about Heaven’s music as she unknowingly approached the last year of her life. Sometimes the transition between this life and the next is a long process, and rarely do the discerning ones talk openly about the experience, at least in my experience.
How great is the night where the mysterious workings of God are revealed.
As for those of us with long quiet stretches, we have the choice to ponder these things. We’re looked down upon by some as being the lowliest of departments, but I don’t think anyone there has it better. Why? It’s the very thing that sets us peasants of the night apart from the gentlefolk of the day: The opportunity to mingle with ghosts. To learn from them.
Stay with me. Night owls and insomniacs carry a universe of life within them. The characters that have strolled into my life have been many: former soldiers, spies, people haunted by their pasts, people haunted by their present, teachers, artists, authors, alcoholics, mentors, partiers (oh, that WWII generation), people who wanted to die, including one who tried to purposefully catch COVID, people who wanted to live and didn’t have long to do it, missionaries, Christians, atheists, activists, pacifists, elderly parents who lived long enough to see their children grow old, and if you’re disappointed because I haven’t mentioned non-metaphorical ghosts, I’ve seen two of those, although I’m unsure how to interpret them. That will be addressed someday.
Do you realize how much wisdom I would have missed had I chosen the path more traveled? I would have climbed straight past all the things that have matured me, educated me, inspired me, and led me to become a writer. What more obvious career to pursue when I work among living, breathing stories? I mean, I couldn’t find a better education on writing character. What would I have done without those quiet hours to think about all I’ve been given? How thankful I am to have chosen the peasant’s path.
There are things I will discuss when I have a little more time and distance from certain events, but my point in all of this, and the word I’m exploring for April, is Rise. Rising comes from within, and the choices we make. Rising doesn’t require formula, or other people’s approval. It might take great sacrifice and humility (Hello, Easter), and it may take many quiet hours of thinking and observing. Thinking for ourselves is a lost art, which many fear will make America fall. So, let’s take the time to learn, and to go forward.
To observe along with me for the month of April, follow me on Instagram and Facebook.