Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In the service of love

"How's school going?"

That's a pretty standard question for anyone to ask. If someone knows enough to know that you're a student, that's one of the most commonly asked, if not the most commonly asked, default questions.

And why not? It's a good question. However, it's also one of those queries where, more often than not, the asker doesn't REALLY want a complicated answer. I mean, in fairness, I ask questions all the time that I really don't care for a detailed answer. "How are you?" If the cashier at the check out line started giving me a long winded answer, going into specifics about their work life, personal life, health, mood, etc....I'd probably be a. shocked, and b. likely to try and extract myself at the earliest opportunity. I mean, if they want to say more than "fine", I'm cool with that, but I'm not going to pull up a chair.

But I digress. (shocking)

Although it is meant as a simple and safe question....in my case you probably couldn't ask a more complicated question...

Many of you know that I am currently in my first semester in the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine Program at the Boston Medical Center. This is a unique program in that it is housed in a medical school, and offers a scientific, neuro-psychology approach, and is more clinical that some other programs. It's a great program and I 1. love it and 2. am still waiting for them to tell me my acceptance letter was a mistake....

So how IS school? Well, as previously stated, I love it. At the same time? It can be a little rough. It's busy, and the course work can be a little challenging, etc but that's really not why. It's a program where you are encountering and facing things about the world that you don't like; where you are learning about yourself and you biases. You are re-evaluating the way you look at the world, what your opinions are, how you feel about people, social issues, etc. In many ways, you're basically getting to know yourself in an entirely new context.

Believe it or not...this can be a little emotionally taxing. You are consistently aware of your own shortcomings, the depravity of some, the indifference of others, the misconceptions and ignorance of many. In many ways I am very aware that I am just one, small, tiny little girl in a large world full of intense problems. It can start to feel very lonely and your work very futile. In addition to be only one...you start to become acutely aware that YOU are screwed up. I have my own issues. I am entirely imperfect. What on earth can I possibly offer or do? are you kidding?? I'm just lucky I got up and dressed in matching clothes that aren't on backwards this morning....

So for example. Today we watched a video on trauma. The stories these people told brought me to tears. I am...constantly amazed by how people hurt each other, and with what little regard they attend to some one's emotional well being. These people had gone through things I had never even considered as possible. Their authenticity and open demeanor broke my heart. As I sat in my class, unsuccessfully trying to hide my emotion, I had those feelings of "what on earth am I doing??" And then suddenly, one of the men in the video who had started working with other victims, offered some eloquent insight. He said, " In the service of love, only broken hearts will do."

At the moment I realized...the fact that I have been hurt in my life, the fact that I am often an utter screw-up...my very humanity is what will make me GREAT at what I do! When you are serving others in love, your heart has to be broken. You have to be REAL and genuine. You have to be a person- flawed, and ever-failing.

So school? It's breaking my heart. And I love it. :)