But when we have taken a square look at some of these defects, have discussed them with another, and have become willing to have them removed, our thinking about humility commences to have a wider meaning. By this time in all probability we have gained some measure of release from our more devastating handicaps. We enjoy moments in which there is something like real peace of mind. To those of us who have hitherto known only excitement, depression, or anxiety–in other words, to all of us–this newfound peace is a priceless gift. Something new indeed has been added. Where humility had formerly stood for a forced feeding on humble pie, it now begins to mean the nourishing ingredient which can give us serenity.
I don’t know how to write about it without being too specific. I work, like I’ve written, with people with severe disabilities. This is what I’ve always done. It’s hard and rewarding and undervalued. It’s also a huge blessing to those of us who love it and are fortunate enough to have help supporting our families, and so someone to support us in the work. I know it’s not for everyone, but for me it’s been a wonderful way to live.
Hating change the way I do, I’ve had only two jobs. I’ve been at my current place for ten years. That is a great thing, too, because usually the population I work with don’t have staff people stay in their lives for that long. I’ve developed long and close relationships with lots of them.
I also had a long and close relationship with a co worker, Irene. We were partners at work in that we did the same job, and we were the only two who did it. We live in adjacent suburbs and so rode to work together all the time. We stayed as almost everything single person we worked with left and new ones came, then they left. We shared the ride and the bosses and the struggles for many years.
Two years ago we had, for a time, a boss who really set out to fix everything that was wrong with the place where we work. Really. Irene was not able to get along with her, though they both tried. Irene left, then the boss left, and now Irene has come back. Daily, just about, she tells me how unhappy she is at work. She is very very unhappy there. All the things that make her unhappy, the boss she couldn’t get along with had in hand.
After the new boss left, and before Irene came back, I was more or less alone at work. I dealt with many people daily, but no one helped me or partnered with me at that job. Another new boss came in time (my sixth in ten years, if that tells you anything about that job), and Irene came back, but the old problems have not been addressed, and the workplace isn’t what it could be. That’s always made all the more difficult because it is the people with disabilities who lose out.
A while ago, I had to sort of accept for myself that this is a thing “I cannot change.” There are some things I can change and control at work, mostly myself, my work and my attitude. But I can’t change other people or the work culture. I decided to do what I can, where I am, with what I have. If I couldn’t stand the lack of excellence, I figured I would have to leave. For now I’ve decided that the good outweighs the bad, and I take my serenity where I can find it. But Irene does not.
When I read these parts of the step about humility, I feel that there’s some key of understanding there that will shed light on my situation. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around my part, my defects, my place in all this mess. The nourishing ingredient which can give me serenity. Humility.