In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Unexpected blessings from unexpected places

You many have caught on by now that I work in an immigration detention center. I'm the health services administrator.

This means that I work around a bunch of alpha male macho men all the time. Not any of my staff, because in medical we're just a bit different than the rest of the facility, but the rest of the building are pretty much that way.

Sometimes they drive me nuts.

My experience is that many immigration agents really do think they're all that. That male wardens really are, when you're blessed to get a good one like I have, great leaders but really intense. Sometimes I find the intensity draining.

Recently I was talking with my oldest son Devon on the phone. We were sharing about what's going in our lives. At one point I was talking about how frustrated I am with how these guys all treat me sometimes at work. He commented that "you know it's because you're so nice all the time and they can treat you that way". (Devon works in the macho world of the US Army.) To which I replied that I think nice is grossly under rated in our society. That nice people make the world better.

I've thought about it since then, and even through sometimes people may mistake my kindness for weakness, I still believe I'm who God made me to be and that the world needs kind people. People who actually care about how others feel.

But sometimes the Holy Spirit in me prompts me to stand up for myself.

Just such an incident occurred recently during a department director's meeting with the warden. There are about 15 people in this meeting, most of them men. The warden started saying stuff about "not to be disrespectful" and talking trash about my psychiatrist in medical. Specifically in terms of his management of this one specific detainee. Without thinking about it, I heard myself utter the words: "but you are being disrespectful sir". I then explained that that our psychiatrist, psychologist, NP who has a specialty in psych, and myself who ran secured psych facilities for 10 years all see the situation the same way and it's him who has the outlier opinion.

The room was silent for that second after I spoke. I felt uncomfortable.

Then the warden started laughing. Possibly because I'm always so nice and put up with so much stuff from these guys all the time and here I was, in a public venue, calling him out, and it was just so unusual that it struck him as funny. He was very tickled and laughed quite a bit and even made a comment to the effect that the two guys (himself and the head ICE man on site) were the only two who thought this detainee was crazy and that they were the two crazy men. Then the meeting continued.

Afterward, I caught the female administrative lieutenant who was in the meeting and asked if she thought I'd been disrespectful. She smiled hugely and said no, that she wanted to cheer for me.

A day later I received an email from the warden wishing me a happy Thanksgiving and these words:

I appreciate your hard work, integrity, and honesty. You have a difficult, lonely, and thankless job. We will keep making progress. I do hope you know I am joking about making diagnosis. I don't have a clue and I definitely respect and trust you"

Words can't express what a blessing this email was to me!

How about you, have you had any unexpected blessings lately?

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