music is one of my favorite things.
at the right moment, the right song can change everything. if i turn up the volume, open the sun roof, and take a deep breath, i can feel the song bursting out of my pores. i feel alive.
the other night was one of the those rare northwest summer evenings where it’s clear, warm, and the moon is out.
i am entering my second year of grad school, en route to achieving my msw (masters of social work). part of year two involves a 10 hour a week internship, and i have been placed at a free clinic in tacoma.
every experience that i have throughout my life impacts me in some way.
but this… this has been a real eye-opener.
an estimated 95,000 citizens in pierce county are currently without health insurance. where i volunteer, the majority of patients are new immigrants, disabled, recently released from incarceration, or simply poor. many of them have not seen a doctor in years.
all of our staff volunteer their time, and we are generally able to help 15-20 individuals each night.
my role is to provide additional community resources to patients, including housing information, referrals for mental health counseling, and connections to other social services that could help them.
the other night, to thank me for my assistance, an older gentlemen brought me two homemade tacos.
after the clinic closed, i got in my car and slowly eased down the hills towards home. i stopped at a red light, and to my left was a covered area with about 6 people sleeping.
and then the song came on.
“hold on now, don’t you blink or it’s gone.”
the light turned green, and i didn’t move.
“i’ve been terrified of life for way too long.”
nobody else was around. i just sat in my car.
“in another life, who knows what we’d become.”
in that moment, it hit me.
first quarter of grad school, i was in a policy class. one of the theories was fascinating to me. it’s called “original position,” and it was first set in place by a man named John Rawls.
this idea hypothesizes an opportunity to create a social system from scratch, being unaware of one’s own positioning in that society (income, ethnicity, geographic location, etc). he goes on to claim that without knowing our place in that society, a person would be most likely to set up a system that would benefit the least well-off. that way, no matter where you ended up when the dice was rolled, you’d have access to all the same resources.
when i pondered this, it rocked my view of the world.
its true, isn’t it? if we had to take a chance that we would be the most needy of society, wouldn’t that change how we contributed to that population?
the song that i was quoting lyrics from is by a band called relient k, and it’s called “don’t blink.”
it brings this idea to mind. in the blink of an eye, everything that i take for granted could be gone. i could be living a different life, and who knows where i’d be.
or what i’d need.
or who would help me.
and all i know is: if i open my eyes and look around, i can see things how they really are. i can see the truth.
and the truth is, there’s a lot to do.
i wanna do something. and i don’t want to close my eyes.