I found Jenny Shih’s wonderful website, http://www.jennyshih.com, a while ago, and I heard my heart calling through her words to step out and become a superhero. If you’ve worked with people in need of emotional, physical, or spiritual support for very long, you’ve more than likely met someone who has touched your heart–someone who needs more than you can give or you can find a way to provide. Those are the people who make you wish you were Superman or Batman or any of the old-fashioned comic book heroes. Actually, I always think of myself in my daydreams as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South from The Wizard of Oz, and I can make everything okay with a wave of my magic wand and the power of the Magic Slippers.
But we all know that magic wands don’t do the trick, and there really are no Magic Slippers. Sometimes people’s lives are crap. Sometimes there’s nothing we or anyone else can do to make things better. The world is broken, and it’s full of broken people. Our systems of making the world work just DON’T work. That’s why our efforts are so disheartening sometimes. I’m learning that the way to avoid burnout and loss of heart for your work is to keep that superhero spirit alive. You might not change the world for everyone, but you can make a difference.
I have a magic wand on my desk, and there it will stay to remind me never to lose heart or hope. Glinda the Good Witch lives inside me and the rest of us who care about changing the world.