Thursday, February 21, 2013

On the Job: Lessons in Human Worth

I recently got a job working at a group home with severely disabled individuals. I absolutely love my work despite, even because of, the demands it has and patience it requires. I give constantly-physically, mentally and emotionally. Most of the people I work with are either paraplegic or quadraplegic and need pretty much everything done for them, and many are bedridden. The clients I work with also all have mental and psychological issues, often quite severe.

Working with such severely disabled people is teaching me some things that I didn't really expect. I am learning a tremendous amount about the intrinsic value of human life. These people cannot contribute to the world in the ways that society generally considers "valuable", yet due to the single fact that they are human, they are worth the world and their lives have deep meaning. From a Judeo-Christian perspective, they have unquestionable value based on the fact that they are made in the image of and based on the nature of their divine creator and hold meaning in his eyes that cannot be fully grasped by humanity. And even apart from any specifically religious conception they still hold innate value; they feel, conceptualize life and it's complexities, dream, hope, grieve, feel pain, and in my personal experience thus far are fully and deeply aware of when someone genuinely cares about them. I do not feel successful in my attempt to describe this concept that I have come to realize. However, it just comes down to the fact that regardless of who or how somebody is, the fact that they are a human being gives them innate and inseparable value that can never be underestimated or fully grasped.

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