In my last post, Steve commented his position of priests serving and of my potential for burn-out. I was going to just respond down there, but I will bring it up into a real post.
I've decided to only do this for another year or two. It's all I can really handle. I have a good friend in prison for something that he should have known better over-- he keeps me grounded. He's upbeat and is my muse and he tells me what the people who I work with don't tell me-- what he is actually seeing. It seems like on the days that I come home thinking, "Oh these poor people!" he is there in the form of a letter saying, "I watched this drug dealer totally BS a religious volunteer!" I put his letters in my night stand and it is interesting that if I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about what I had seen or heard, the nightstand reminds me of his letter and he is saying it all over again. (I wonder if he ever gets woken up, thinking that he is dreaming of me waking him up to talk to him! "Tell me again what you said about the drug dealers.")
I am getting on to some boards that serve prisoners and I think that after doing the front line work, I will volunteer exclusively on the boards.
For years I have believed that politicians should do boot camp before they run for anything by washing the feet of the poor or serving in some capacity to the lowest of the low.
I have done Hospice and loved volunteering with it, and I have worked in extended care. I've done Compeer, CASA and trained with STAR over the past 20 years. I even trained with Childbirth Education Classes but never did it because I left my ex mid-way through the classes.
I am constantly going to the store and making eye contact with someone and they come to me and tell me something tragic-- I have one of those faces. When I was younger, I felt honored to hear the stories, but now I am busy with my own family. I care for my blogger friends and my real life friends, but I don't like random strangers (or flipping DENTAL ASSISTANTS) making me hear the latest. I have allowed to people to be very rude to me and when I have not responded with curtness, that has set off an emotional response. It has gotten bad enough that I often avoid the stores because I don't want to have my Empath encounters. I think that my time is coming to focus on my art and my writing. Surely reporting will throw me into the same situations, but it's a little more controlled.