Thursday, January 26, 2012

Appearances and Disorder

Reflecting on four years of being part of The ColemanInstitute team, I recognize that, more than a job, what we do here is a calling.

Dr. Martin Seligman says, “Sociologists distinguish among a job, a career, and a calling. You do a job for the money, and when the money stops, you stop working. You pursue a career for the promotions, and when the promotions stop, topped out, you quit or become a time-serving husk. A calling, in contrast, is done for its own sake. You would do it anyway, with no pay and no promotions. “Try to stop me!” is what your heart cries when you are thwarted.”

That being said, I do have bills to pay, so I’m not in the position to do this on a volunteer basis, but what I know is that the people we serve are more than numbers, more than another notch on a belt, and we are deeply committed to helping them achieve recovery.

That’s why this week has been particularly tough.  I received a laminated memorial card with the beautiful smiling face of one of our beloved young patients who ultimately succumbed to heroin overdose. It was accompanied by a note from his mother thanking us for all we had done for her son.

We had known him clean and free of drugs for almost a year. He had been a challenging rascal and we all adored his spirit and his spunk. When he was clean, his gifts and talents radiated to the world and lit up everything in its path.

I read this passage this morning: “Satan is no principle, no elementary power, but a rebellious, fallen creature who frantically attempts to set up a kingdom of appearances and disorder.”

Regardless of my religious perspective, I do know that dwelling in the world of drugs is truly about ‘appearances and disorder’.  Through my work, I have come to see that things are not always what they seem.  It's not always cut and dry, black and white...a gifted, talented young man isn't bad because he had a drug addiction.  He was a beautiful human being flawed and disordered like the rest of us (if we're honest, that is) often feeling like a kitten but sometimes roaring like a lion!   

As I remember this fallen patient slain by his addiction, I am reminded that we are devoted to helping people thrive in their own reality.  Please don’t wait to call us before it’s too late.

Joan R. Shepherd, NP

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