Not Making a Difference


This time I sit with two caseworkers and one other, all anonymous, at a house with eight children. I’ve brought along a glass of wine, which isn’t allowed, but no one seems to notice.The mother of the children is in a back room, maybe sleeping; the chlldren running around, mostly school age,unkempt, some in pajamas. They are mostly girls. No one is noticing them, no one pays attention. I’m not sure why I’m there…I have an idea that my job lies elsewhere and I need to get down to it, but i agreed to go on this home visit.  I try talking to one or two of the children, but it doesn’t matter. They are watching TV, or pushing each other around. i have some sense that the mother does appear, that we are checking on the welfare of these children.  i have nothing to do.  I may as well sit there and wait until it’s over.

I watched an old movie on Saturday; and I am mildly surprised that is is old..20 years. Star Trek’s final movie with Captain Kirk, called “Generations”. He has an opportunity, at the moment of his death, to live a blissful life in an imaginary state.   He rejects this option, and decides to leave that place and come back to reality “to make a difference”. I guess I could have stayed in my imaginary life, too, but it sure looked real on the outside looking in.  As real as any long term marriage with two fine children.  But it wasn’t REAL. I can’t explain it…why wasn’t it real? And is “making a difference” real?  My “real jobs”-teaching, psychotherapy- would be seen as “making a difference” but there are so many paradoxes and obstacles  that the effort in work becomes at times an ironic comment on my efforts.  I feel I should sit back and have a glass of wine; because letting the children run amok may make no difference whatsoever.

I did want to make a difference. Now I feel that I can only survive; I’ve let down my children, my friends, my ex. I have a sense of purgatory and don’t know if I deserve it.


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