Sunday, January 20, 2019

Groundhog Day

(Photo is not my own.)

Wake up, go to work, come home, repeat. Oh, and did I mention that it's dark when I leave for work and dark upon my return? Working during the winter is blah. Sometimes I feel that I am in a cocoon of "Groundhog Day"- type living. The worst of it, I also seem to be burned out on my job. I've done this for almost forty years! (Oh say it isn't so....) But it's true. When I began in the dental field in on-the-job-training as a late teenager, I adored it.

The most rewarding part of my job has always been the people. I've met some wonderful families, heard some truly inspiring stories from them, and feel I've helped a few of them along the way. I liked the learning involved with a field I'd known nothing about, and have become proficient in some of the trickier aspects like dental insurance. I've made incredible, life-long friendships with some of my co-workers.

Why is it that I could pull the covers up over my head when the bedside alarm sounds in the morning? What is causing me to wish away a few years and pray for retirement?

The Bible tells us: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as if you are working for the Lord and not men. God, am I disappointing you because I am just plain tired of the daily grind? For I feel you want so much more from me--more than I'm willing to give right now.

Perhaps even those who are retired or those who aren't working for other reasons feel a type of burnout, feel a day after day sameness that they want to escape. How do we pull ourselves out of Groundhog Day? What is our answer?

Yesterday at work, I had to talk about insurance and pricing with a husband and wife. The woman and I had spoken on the phone several times about her husband's case. As I was about to leave the room, the wife spoke up. She told me how good I am at what I do. She said it is a pleasure talking with me on the phone and in person. That I truly care about people and it shows in how I handle myself at my job. She thanked me for everything and I found myself smiling as I left the room. I didn't share this with anyone else. Like a secret prize, I wanted to hold those words close to myself and think about them.

Maybe I am still making a small difference every day. I don't see it most of the time, and I don't hear about it very often. But this woman took the time to appreciate what I'd done. I felt worthy, intelligent, humbled, and blessed. I hadn't looked at myself like that on my job in a very long time.

What will it take for us to step out of the boredom and daily grind? The sameness and routine? Perhaps just a few words for you to ponder. A few things to say to yourself each day:

You are worthy, loved, and blessed. You are good at what you do. Whether it's your job, gardening, crafting, talking, teaching, listening, whatever it is. Step back for a moment, take a long look at your life. Know that there is someone who appreciated you and wanted what was best for you. Whether it has been a parent, spouse, sibling, cousin, friend, or co-worker. Someone, somewhere has been touched by a kindness that you've done. Sinner or saint, none of us are perfect. But I believe we all have the desire for good within us and the ability to boost another person with the power of our words and actions.

Let's learn together to embrace the morning darkness-- the crisp feel of the chilly air--it means our lungs are working! The days of dark don't last long, for the spring is peeping around the corner. Let's feel good about what we do, whether it's assembly line work, fast food, or heart surgeon. Because if we've done it long enough, we do it well. And let's remember to speak an encouraging word over someone who has done a well-done job for us. Spoken words have power. The kind of power to change a life.

When our own personal Groundhog Day is over, and something in our world changes, may it be wonderful and life-giving. May it be the very thing needed to give us a sense of accomplishment and peace.