Today started off pretty terrible. Because of training deficiencies, there are times at my job where I don’t know what I’m doing. That’s fine with a lot of jobs. You learn as you go. But it is stressful for me when my inability to know what I’m doing affects someone else’s well-being.

I work for a home care organization, and unfortunately I’m new to this line of work. This morning I was paired with a client who had a disease I was totally unfamiliar with, and while there was other staff nearby for assistance (sort of), I felt frustrated at my inability to know what to do for my client. I could tell at times she was uncomfortable, and at one point she snapped at me. I know I can’t take those things personally, but it’s hard not to when I feel like I can do better.

I left that client discouraged and frustrated. My back hurt. I had a lot of things to do. And I vegged by watching Facebook. When I left to see my next client, I was hoping and praying things would go better.

My next client was tucked  away in the country-side. A good sign, maybe? She met me on the road, where her neighbor/landlord went  up to to us (in her see-through bra), asking for some help with her three kids under three. My client agreed to help later with child care. In a strange way, this interaction made me smile. We then drove up to my client’s abode. She had a tiny little mobile home and a whole mess of stuff piled to the side. There was a pathway through the stuff, and as I entered I was greeted by an array of potted plants. I told her at once that I loved gardening, and she said “Well we’ll get along great!” My mood immediately improved.

We talked, smiled, and laughed all day while finishing tasks. She had so many words of wisdom and said things that made me think. I saw how resourceful and friendly and compassionate she was, even though her life situation was not easy, even though her home was a bit chaotic. I felt inspired by her to continue to be positive and make it a point to have fun. She said, “I tend to think I’m still forty years old and can do forty year old things. You know, it’s important not to lose your sense of fun. I see so many people who do. But I think we need that in order to keep going.”

I drove home happy and positive. A terrible start doesn’t mean a terrible end. I am tucking away this memory in my mind to remind myself on hard days that it will get better. And if I can hold onto that, maybe I will still be able to have fun, even when it’s hard.