Walking down the hallway to our room Joe reached out and plucked something from the back of my shirt. "A little bit of Eric," he said by way of explanation. I smiled at the thought of Eric's fur travelling around the continent with me. He's my dog of dogs and he's deeply in my heart so he might as well be on my clothing too. In truth, Eric is really everywhere. His fur is all over the car, the carpet, shirts, socks, shoes ... everywhere and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I was thinking about this as I re-read what I wrote yesterday about Glen and Linda and Alice. These are people I spent a brief time with but little memories of them still cling to me - little bits of me has been changed by these people. This is what I love about human services. We are called upon to be human, to be in relationship to others, to be willing and ready to change. The process of service is a process of constant growth.
This should be true of all of us, in all walks of life - we should be changed, transformed by the relationships we have with others. But it's to easy to live a life surrounded by like minded people and like intentioned others. It's to easy to give up the challenge and stagnate. It's comfortable, to be sure, but it just isn't that interesting.
Some of the best discussions I've had are with people I really disagree with. They challenge me to grow, to think, to understand my position inside and out. I often hate it at the time but realize later that I'm thinking deeper because of the interaction. People are untamed creatures who just will not behave the way I always expect them to - damn them. And because of that, I'm pushed out of my rut and on to a more interesting road.
Being in service to people who have lived different lives than I have, who have see different things and been to different places is often challenging - but it's fun - and, more importantly, it changes me.
So not only do I have Eric's fur on my shirt, if you look closely you'll also see Bob's laugh there, Janice's energy, Philips 'poco hor' ... and the list is endless.