Always be just. Never be just anything.
Without revealing my job or position, this will sound much vaguer than I’d like, so let’s draw a hypothetical situation to reveal the meaning. It actually paints an even more digestible picture to discuss.
Let us imagine a world where I can tolerate the random disgusting things we all do enough to be a nurse and enough compassion to make people feel comfortable. In this fictional world I had a customer ask me if I was a doctor, to which I said, “I’m just the nurse.” This customer looked me dead in the eye and with the most compassionate look I’ve ever received said “Never be just anything.”
Fireworks went off in my head. Although I am not a nurse and by my measure my job is far simpler, this idea sparked numerous connections.
She was being absolutely fair to me. It was liberating. Considering the racist I have to deal with, this was amazing. And although I’ve dealt with the racist as recently as 3 days ago, remembering this story helps to mitigate the world even though it happened so long ago.
This is an idea that I have trouble with because I constantly want to improve myself. I keep failing at it in different ways, so I feel like my current position in life is settling. Sometimes it is hard to see that as long as I keep trying to climb, I am not settling.
Personally and professionally I have fallen quite far, but I am not settling. I will never just be a divorced man struggling to put a life back together. Because as long as I struggle I can’t be “just” anything.
I struggle even more with the flip side of this. Many of the “mothers” I deal with become just mothers. And although mother is a position of honor in my universe, I often forget that these amazing women are so much more.
Many other people fall into boxes very quickly for me, though some crawl out. I am working on paying much more attention to people and classifying them less quickly, though given the way I’ve seen the world for so long, that is really hard.
But if it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth talking about.