Thursday, May 2, 2013

Where do the flies go when night falls?

It was only this week that I found myself sitting in the middle of Australia talking about social work and what it meant. A couple of days a month I fly out to a remote mining cite and hear all sorts of stories about the challenges faced by living so far away from home, working long hours, work relationships and their challenges and many other issues.

As I am writing this I am again at another remote mining cite talking with people who have experienced an unexpected loss. I often take the diversity of my work for granted. Recently I have been feeling lethargic, laconic and very very relaxed about the work I do. There is very little which surprises me any more and there is very little new about what I am doing. I know I haven't done it all and I know that there is more I can do. There is that book I started years ago that I haven't finished. There is the Journal article I haven't started, a number of them in fact. There are the cases I haven't concluded and the fights I still need to have. There is a broken system here and there which I haven't fixed or even dented. There are people still needing to be heard but have no one who will act for them. There is the publishing company which needs to have a presence on the Internet. This list seems endless.

As I sat in the desert pondering the issues which concerned me and feeling unmotivated to do anything about them, I considered the most important issue of the moment "where do the flies go when night falls?". So this has where it all has lead me - to pondering something as bewildering and as insignificant a question as this. As I was boarding the plane to return home I had to enter the aircraft cabin through a wall of flies eager to attach themselves to sweaty, clammy bodies. Some flies were captured in the plane and as we took off and rose higher and higher I was watching a fly on my window sliding down into the ledge at the bottom of the window. I surmised that this was because of the pressurised cabin or the change in temperature or that he was just a bloody lazy fly that wanted to have a break. This entertained me for some minutes until we were at a hight which allowed me to turn my ipad on and commence watching the video I wasn't able to complete on arrival.

Where has all the preoccupation gone concerning conflicts, client dilemmas, ethical issues and STRESS. It has all vanished into a fly dying on my window and pondering where they go at night.

Tony Tonkin
Accredited Mental Health Social Worker
International Counselling Service
Ph 0414 883 153