September 5, 2022•479 words
I sat speaking with my team leader, my voice trembling with wilful emotion. Serving the most excluded in the community always comes with challenges. Coming out of the pandemic, the already ignored seem forgotten; it's no longer a challenge; it's an abyss. People are being left to rot.
I am fortunate to work in a supportive team and thankful my service does not have a "statutory duty" to serve, allowing us to meet people before the problem. The solutions we offer are primary to ensure the system gets rent payments met by the state.
As all other services ( homelessness, social services, landlord services) are hamster wheeling in their key performance indicators, deeper, more complex work is placed into our inbox.
I visit people in their homes who have been left neglected until the point the system wants money out of them. When the cost of living crisis sits front and centre of society's consciousness, I refuse to leap into the technical problem solving that only serves the status quo. Instead, I strive to find presence with the person I meet, join the struggle and work with them rather than at them.
With every service being overwhelmed, bureaucratic armour is thick; I spend most of my time asking services to do the expected job. Endless to-fro emailing, long hold times, staff fearful of making a decision, and staring into a bureaucratic abyss does not serve anyone. Is accepting being a cog the only way to help people in modern times?
After 10 mins into our sessions, my therapist says, "That's all well and good, Karl, but what about you?"
I speak, and it seems no- one is listening; I am devaluing myself. When I stop talking and start listening, my observations are validated. I am more aligned with the people I serve than the platform that places me there; this platform is my distraction from the painful loneliness that fluctuates in my soul. I experience so many broken parts I have forgotten pathways to Joy. My heart mirrors the people I serve as I see more of myself in them.
Advocacy and community service take energy; in my tenure, the cumulative circumstances I find myself in compounds the sorrow I feel inside for the world and my lack of ability to empower people toward their hearts. Change is needed; with the words of Amanda Maa, I remember a forgotten lesson.
"Real transformation is not something you can just decide to do or make happen because you think it will make you immune to pain. Rather, it's a tipping point that surfaces in your innermost being when suffering becomes simply too much to bear."
This place resonates with my nature. Doing is not the answer; naturally, opening to the movement forward will steer me where my heart, home, and joy awaits. Clouds may obscure stars, but above, they still shine.