Saturday, September 12, 2009

Counselor/Social Worker

I've thought about this since I was in my early twenties. I don't think I could handle it day in and day out for very long. So much heartache parading through my office every day -I don't think I could take it after a while. I can see myself volunteering in crisis situations on a monthly basis. Maybe. I would have to train for it and try it and see. I would like to help women who have been hurt and who are trying to rebuild their lives.

I've run into quite a few people in my life who are victims of various terrible crimes, and some of them have seemed to embrace their victimhood. How do you help somebody like that? How do you help someone who refuses to forgive their perpetrator? I wonder if the training to be a social worker teaches you how to deal with people who are stuck in what has happened to them and are consequently unable to move on with their lives.

I've been a victim of a traumatic and felonious crime. I forgave "my perpetrator". It took a long time and it wasn't easy and I haven't forgotten what happened. But I don't live with the fear or the suffering any more.

What I've learned is that when you refuse to forgive you hold on to the pain and the suffering. You can't let it go without forgiveness. I believe it is impossible to give the pain back to the person who caused it until you let go of it and forgive them.

What I've learned is that suffering doesn't make you special. Everybody suffers one thing or another. The people who learn and grow from their suffering are those who have figured out how to forgive. They are the special and uncommon ones. Forgiving means letting go of the anger and the blame and the pain. Forgiving means that, whatever it is that has been done to you and however terrible and unjust, you don't let it define you and control your life. Forgiving doesn't mean forgetting and I do not believe that being forgiven by the victim relieves the perpetrator of any responsibility for the crimes he's committed. It just relieves the victim of the suffering.

I want to be happy and at peace. I don't want to be a victim. I want to be truly free of what's happened. I believe that can only happen through forgiveness.

I don't want to be a victim OR a survivor. I just want to be me. I want to choose what's mine.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post, Amy.
    In "The Human Stain" by Philip Roth, one of the characters says "You cannot compare sorrows." I believe he's referring to the common impulse to say to someone "I've had it worse than you" or "You've had it worse than I have."
    Everyone has a story, and every has things they must learn to live with, and one person's ability or inability to cope does not define that person's worth as a person. What it does do is affect their quality of life. Not only that, but sometimes the anger is directed not at a person but at "life" or "the world" and really, who can be happy when they're holding a grudge against everything?