The Ordinary Sacred

If you work in a social work role everyday, you witness a lot. You witness the gamut of emotions. You are there with people living through their darkest days. You may put expectations on yourself to fix the darkness.

It’s easy to lose sight of the sacred in every day life, to miss the importance of each relationship and the dignity and worth of each person.

Social workers are my people because we leave it all on the table. Each day I watch my coworkers give the best of themselves until they walk out the door. We are dedicated to the work. We are dedicated to the person in front of us. That is sacred work.

I find that when I don’t seek the sacred in my personal life, I start to struggle. I feel my own darkness taking ground. My favorite poet, Wendell Berry, once wrote that ” there are no unsacred places, only sacred places and desecrated places.” By his account, to see the sacred is merely to open one’s eyes. That can be a type of seeking in itself.

One way I try to “open my eyes” to the sacred is hiking in the hills near my house. The land, owned by a monastery, is an open space for the public. On the top of the biggest hill, about a 45 minute hike upwards, is a shrine on a lookout over the distant hills. The bricks upholding the shrine are full of notes wedged into the cracks, money, and trinkets. The leavings of those before me, offering of themselves. As I sat for a moment on the stones, I was hit by the beauty that others are looking for the sacred too.

Participating in the creation of music is also a big eye opener for me to the sacred. Something about the completely natural beauty of how notes fit together and how timbres blend sets my soul right. Even though it requires more on my schedule to make music happen with friends, it always gives me more than it takes. Here is a  recent song I played recorded with a friend to share with you.

I find experiences like this bring balance and light so I can keep dedicating myself fully to the work of the person in front of me.

Do you ever find yourself seeking the same? What do you find sets your soul right again?

Mandy

 

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socialworkcompanionblog

An MSW growing in the profession, working in rural Oregon.

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