I would love to live
Like a river flows
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding
In my fifteen years working for Hospice of Santa Barbara, I have been carried by the surprise of the organization’s unfolding. My first exposure to the organization was at an adult education lecture given by Gail Rink.
After asking about possible employment opportunities, she referred me to Joanne Talbot who hired me. At that time counseling services were provided by Gail, Joanne, Dana VanderMey, Marilyn Goldman, and Joy Jansen in the small house on Junipero St. We were masters of many trades including office visits, home visits and hospital visits. We comforted those who were grieving, assisted those facing life threatening illnesses, and sat at the bedsides of those who were dying. I had the opportunity to learn from these masters - staff and clients - who assisted me in navigating the impediments in the river of grief. In those early years, I was blessed with the opportunity to become familiar with the volunteers and work directly with them as my clients needed their wonderful services.
Since those early years, my journey unfolded in surprising ways as the organization grew and incorporated such services as the children’s mentor program, the palliative care program, and later the patient care program. There was the move from our cozy cottage to our Riviera office and the addition of staff as the demand for our services grew.
As the river morphed larger my journey in it narrowed as more masters were added to the flow. It is not to say that the challenges became less, just different. The breaks in the flow have provided me the time to reflect on my path and why I am on it. I am ever so grateful for having had the opportunity to join in and be carried by the Hospice river. The surprises have been many as the river has provided me with opportunities to grow as a therapist and as a person. I have no idea where the river will take me next, but I am called to reflect on the following:
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to the real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.