Monday, September 26, 2005

Response Ability

Yes, I know the word is actually "responsibility". My ability to respond to situations that I have some measure of interest or control over is of concern to me. As I have mentioned previously, my level of work responsibility now is not even close to what it used to be.

While I used to be somewhere toward the top of the work "food chain" in my last couple of jobs, I am now in a situation where I'm learning things from scratch. As a result, folks don't expect too much of me. I'm not really used to this, but I like it in many ways.

When I was in the Air Force, I supervised and trained pretty much everyone in my job field. So, I made sure that over 20 adults were taken care of work-wise. I liked it because I had it organized down to a science and everything flowed pretty well.

Then, I got out of the military and started in with Lockheed Martin. My whole level of responsibility shifted from being in charge of people to being in charge of systems and computers and software. I hated it at first because I prefer to be with people and computers can be more baffling to me that human beings sometimes.

While I wasn't in charge of anyone, I did still work with some young military folks. The people who came through my shop were vastly different. I saw single mothers, homosexuals, 30-something recovering alcoholics/dug-users. They all had issues and problems. The one that caught my attention was a young, married Navy guy. He was barely 19 and married to his high school sweetheart. They were from a small town in Ohio and apparently he wnet into the Navy to provide for them and also give them a sense of adventure and escape from small town life.

He asked me questions about God and religion. He wasn't from a particularly religious background from what I could tell, but he was very curious. He told me once that he was a twin, but his twim brother was stillborn. He seemed sad and lonely. Then his wife left.

She said she was tired of being alone. He worked a schedule even weirder than mine and his wife didn't know anyone in Augusta, Georgia. She went back to small town life and an ex-boyfriend there.

He went back to the small town on two weeks of leave soon after and was scheduled to come into work immediately afterward. Whe he didn't arrive, his Navy supervisor and a guy in the Air Force went to his apartment. The Air Force guy had a key to his apartment since he was house-sitting while he ws on leave. After banging on the door and yelling for a while, they entered using the key.

He used a hunting rifle to shoot himself in the head. He had lost hope. It was sad and shocking to us all. At first, I felt responsible. I wished that I had given him more hope when we talked about God. Then I realized that I did what I could with the knowledge I had of him. In retrospect, I realized that he had chronic depression. I didn't recognize it at first because I only saw and talked to the guy at work. But, it hurt to see him go that way.

I suppose I say all this to get back to the point that responsibility is a word we sometimes use to refer to others rather than ourselves. I try to live by the term "personal responsibility". You are responsible for your own actions and you must live in such a way as to try to show others how abundant life can be. You can only do and say so much and then it's up to others to make a decision for themselves whether or not they want to live an abundant life full of contentment. The parable of "soils" comes to mind.

Maybe other people's soil can be affected by ours. Sometimes, there are just too many thorns and you come too late to help weed them out. Life and death happen, often.


Jamison said...

how come i never have had those people who ask me about religion... seems awesome to have someone ask you about that... i just hope when someone DOES ask me, ill have the right answers...

good blog sip! well spaced :)

bigsip said...

Thanks! I just work "church" into conversations a lot. People are very respectful most of the time and will try to refrain from using bad language and stuff aound you. If you're nice to them, they feel comfortable asking about religious stuff, too. That's how you get em!

Diana said...

I have a lot of people ask me, and of course I'm a new Christian so I very rarely have the right answer or know where to take them to in the Bible, so I end up getting chewed out and judged. So recently, and it's sad to say, I've been a lot more cynical and not talked about my faith as much. I sort of miss being the 'good' one at work, though in my next blog you'll see that I've still maintained my reputation.
P.S. Sip, that was a great story and I learned a lot from it, but if you blog another suicide story, so me a favor and put some sort of WARNING in the title. I"m picked on enough at school without having to add crybaby to my resume. LOVE YOU!

Diana said...

I hope one day to have a knowledge of the Bible like Sip does. I look up to you a lot. Even though we clash a lot, I respect you more than just about anyone.

bigsip said...

Didn't mean to make you cry. I appreciate your tender heart. Read that Bible. That's the only way to know it. Just read it over and over. It takes time and prayer. Love it like a person and realize that's one of the best ways to form your relationship with God.