Where you are going is messy, once you’ve gone down this path there’s no turning back. Nothing will be normal. I heard a line similar to this one in the movie Priceless recently. The man in the movie was telling the other man that once he embarked on the journey of helping a woman get out of trafficking there would be no forgetting or turning back. This line stuck with me throughout the rest of that night. I kept thinking what if they warned every social work student with this line? Would we still be social workers? Isn’t this really a perfect warning to embark in a field of helping people?
The media paints social work in a certain light. Movies like Priceless paint helping others as a valuable but hard task. Most people think you spend your days separating families. The truth of social work is perfect summed up in that one aforementioned quote. Once you have gone down the path of social work, there really is no turning back. You can quit being a social worker but that will always be a part of you.
A piece of innocence is lost when you become a social worker. You can watch as many movies on crime or read as many books as you want but until you have seen it firsthand you cannot truly imagine. There is something heart wrenching about looking into the eyes of a girl and hearing how her own father sold her to others. You know there is literally nothing you can do to take back that piece of her life. When you hear how another child’s parent chose someone else over keeping them at their home, all you can say is Jesus loves you. Do you know how hard it is to explain that when someone’s own father has abandoned or abused them? The horrors that happen to women today are unspeakable and I could go on for days about them. However, as social workers we cannot tell our story. We become the silent bearers of those stories because our client’s privacy is of utmost importance.
Imagine that this is what I have witnessed after five years of working with women and children. Just think what it is like for the social workers that have spent years attempting to battle the injustices of this world. Ask a social worker if they think the job was worth it. I asked myself this and I would say some days I do wish I could turn back and see the beauty of humanity in a pure way again. However, I would not trade being a social worker for anything in the world.
Why would I want to step into this field and be exposed to the evil side of humanity? There are those rare moments as a social worker that brings a beautiful light beyond belief. The moment at the hospital when a baby breathes it’s first breath. That moment a mother is connected to her child in a special bond. The moment I sit in a client’s home and celebrate because she finally got that job she wanted or a place to live. The inexplicable joy of a teenage mom graduating after she was told she would amount to nothing. Those moments bring light into the darkness. Those moments remind you that Jesus wants us to step into the darkness and help bring people to the light. Social workers may have a hard job but there is a beauty in exposing people to Christ’s light and the love that some in humanity have been given to share with others. Helping other’s shine their own lights means no turning back and most of us wouldn’t. These lyrics from For King & Country sum up my thoughts in a more eloquent way:
I’m marching out of the doubt into trust
Out of the me into us
No turning back
I’m falling head over heels into love
Leaving regret in the dust
No turning back