Monday, November 14, 2005
Faith in Humanity Restored

When I worked as a Probation Officer, I put myself into a frightening position. There I was, an educated woman with a degree in Social Work, and a minor in Theology.

I had read all the right philosophy books. I attended one of the foremost humanitarian universities in the country. I prided myself on world knowledge, and the basic tenets of all world religions. I wrote regularly in a journal and drew to express myself. I believed in people. I believed in civilization.

But then, I had four years of sadness. For, working with the dredges of society was indeed less liberating and hopeful than my idealistic little brain could comprehend. There was no time to discuss Rahner or Plato with meth addicts. There was no hope to influence Mazlow's hierarchy of needs upon people who only knew how to cope in this society by committing crimes. Eventually, I lost my hope in people.

And then, I lost my hope in myself.

You can only dwell in that kind of environment for so long before you come to see fellow humans as mere cysts on the face of an otherwise perfect Earth. You forget what the philosophers said about duties, responsibilities, beliefs, and passions. You only see the failing systems of criminal justice. And then, you just give up. You find yourself surrounded by individuals who also lost faith in themselves, or who found sustanance only through punishment of others. You spoke with other law enforcement officers who would sooner shoot a man than offer him help. You trap yourself into the deluge of unhealthy persona. These individuals would lie down and take immoral policies than stand up for each other, and humanity.

My boss said it best. "When you locked those people up, Fritz, in your heart, you just wanted to help them."

But I didn't know how. Nope. All that education, all those book smarts, all those essays and studies and internships and long talks with professors and priests did not prepare me for probation, felons, courts, lawyers, corrupt agencies.

Thank God I got fired.

I am trying very much to protect the job I have now, and protect those individuals whom are the basis of my work. But I can say this much: I work with developmentally disabled and/or mentally retarded individuals.

At first, I was extremely anxious about this kind of work, not having as much experience with this population as others. But as I learn more, and visit more facilities, I begin to see: my hope in humanity is being restored.

In one day, I received more hugs and smiles than a whole month working in Probation. I received more joy and more thanks than four years working for the State. I see now the importance of these individuals--those slightly 'blemished' in society's eyes are some of the most accepting and true people I've ever met. This is not to simplify what or who they are. It is only to remind myself: at the core of us, beneath our intelligence and books and knowledge, there are true human emotions. And the emotions are beautiful.

I cannot express to my readers enough how fulfilling it is to work with this group of people. It is as though God has spoken in an uncanny way. Of course, there is much that needs to be done for these folks. There is much that stands against them. Beyond the sneers and stares of people who don't understand the mentally retarded/developmentally disabled, there is a lack of resources for them. Sometimes, they are not treated well. Sometimes, they are overlooked.
Oh, but the hope! The hope in their eyes is irrefutable, and the warmth of their hands is genuine.

I do believe I can say: humans are indeed good things. Humans are indeed worth the fight.
Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

Location: Detroit Rock City!
Where the weak are killed and eaten

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