20.. – 2021

Social issues at the macro level have changed significantly; sociology, human rights/social justice advocates, and countless organizations/individuals have had significant influence; and yet, at the micro level—the level of the individual—the horror stories continue to be told, seemingly unaffected by the round-the-clock work invested.

The individual, “the one”
still screams—unheard
still suffers—silently
still cries—uncontrollably
still fights—for life
still lives—too few years
still loses—too much and too many
still dies—
still dies . . .

She died just a few weeks ago, drugged, raped, beaten, early twenties.

Everyone involved had choices, not everyone had the freedom to make the right choices. I am not sure if she had any choices left, or was capable of making them in the last hours of her life, nor might anyone present have known these were her last hours until it was too late.

I am not here to judge, even though my heart is judging, is crying, wants justice.

We want to believe that society is changing, that we are making a difference with the education we receive in the social sciences, the questions sociology trains us to answer as to the “what, how, and why,” and the endless hours workers invest.

It all makes sense on paper, and yet when we add the human element, a history of pain, violence, rejection, shame, confusion, abuse of every kind—whether inflicted upon the individual or self-inflicted—choices made by broken human beings—influenced by the social circumstances imposed upon them or self-imposed—often all our answers are shot to hell.

Just like that.

And we are left with questions . . . unanswerable, because who can truly gauge the depths of anyone’s heart, the reasons why? Except the one knows the answers, consciously or subconsciously, but is not capable to answer because answering requires an honesty, a vulnerability, they cannot afford lest they lose the defenses they have built to be able to live on . . .

I don’t know the answers; I know what I feel; I know my powerlessness; I know my deep sorrow, which I barely allow to surface for fear of tearing me apart, and I have hardly experienced suffering compared to those whose stories will follow.

Social work in my mind is not a science concerned with an academic discipline dedicated to the systematic study of society and the relationships among individuals within a society; it is a chaotic reflection on the realization that relationships are so complicated, fragile, strong, time-consuming, in need of respect, personal, a privilege to be invited into . . . that this work can hardly be categorized as a job.

Social work is a vocation.