Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Morning

These are coke ovens along the road, near a coal mine (where my former husband worked) that is no longer producing coal. Without getting into the whole process of steel making - this was part of the process.

I grew up in steel towns and with a steel family. My father was an engineer for a large steel company. He was quite a brilliant man and had a couple of patents on a new design of blast furnace (used in steel making). He traveled around the world for this company. In my youth, I knew the names of the steel mills, and I knew things like what coke ovens were, it was part of our culture.

By the 1980s, the town I grew up in was all but abandoned, the steel mills were silent. They no longer belched smoke, which in steel-mill culture is devastation. I was taught from the time I was an infant that when there was smoke in the air, it meant that men were working and families had food on their tables. This sounds like another century, doesn't it? Well, it was.

By the 1990s, my father was in a nursing home. Above his bed was a large framed photograph of one of his blast furnaces. I asked him how he felt about all those steel mills being gone, all that work, all his life's creative efforts went into - all gone. The blast furnace in the photo was gone. I thought this would be devastating for him.

He sanguinely said that he earned a good living and had a good life. He really didn't care if his creations lived forever. He did what he was supposed to do and the rest was out of his hands.

I often think of this. It astounded me at the time. Now, I am striving toward getting this attitude down. I can have pride in the quality of my work while I am doing it, but I need to let go of what happens with it after it's done.

I cannot make the State value the hospital I have poured my heart and soul into. I can thank God that I have earned a good living for the last 15 years. I can look forward to what is in my future, trusting that it will be how it is supposed to be. I can worry about patients who everyone but the politicians agree have no where to go, but I cannot go berserk over this.

I will endeavor to be an asset today wherever God has me. And I will remember the blast furnaces of my father.


12 comments:

Gin said...

Your father sounds like an awesome man. What a good example he left for you. May we all learn to feel that way.

Kim A. said...

In my own life, the lesson of letting go resembles the process of grief, especially with those things and people that have helped to identify who I am. The Steps, prayer and meditation have helped me to not linger in the pain as long, but it is still a process. Be kind to yourself and start getting excited about what's next..it's gonna be awesome :-D

Namaste

Ed G. said...

Tough lessons. I admire your willingness to move on. My own surrenders have not been easy, graceful or happy.

But, in all honesty, they've all made me who I am today and I can honestly say I could not have gotten where I was to here without having been on that path.

Doesn't mean I don't hate it at the time though...

Blessings and aloha...

AnyEdge said...

What wisdom. Thank you MC.

Patty said...

Sounds like a great plan, MC.

Lou said...

I can tell you gave this a lot of thought and prayer over the week end. And glad you found comfort in the words of your father. I like the idea of doing the best I can, and then stepping aside.

This is a beautiful, heartfelt post.

Syd said...

Your father was a wise man. If only we all could let go of those things that are out of our control and not want our egos to shine through. I'm working at it. Packing my books up has been a lesson in humility for me. No person is irreplaceable.

Findon said...

I too grew up in a steel town and worked in the steel mills as an engineer. It too was torn apart when the steel mills closed and has never recovered. The mills provided work and food for thousands of people but were too uneconomic to keep going. It's ironic when you think of all the billions the banks have just had so that they wouldn't close.

Scott W said...

In early sobriety I expressed concern at finding work, that I was in fear. Bob S said to me, "I have never seen the program drop anyone." I believed him and it made things easier to take.

Messy Girl said...

What a fantastic example. There are moments (although rare and few between) when I feel a wonderful peace knowing that I've done what I can and the rest is in God's hands.

God Is said...

Wow...Amen. Inspirational.

Pam said...

I love your Dads philosophy!
I think that could serve us all well in these times. I think he had the correct definition of a "good life".