One of my favorite things about work is the commute home.
It’s not that I dislike the work itself, but it’s so busy. I work some of the time at a shelter for homeless youth, and there are not many moments to catch my breath. There’s always a youth who needs bus tickets, or a youth who needs to be reminded to do the dishes, a meeting to go, or an encounter with a youth to log, or even mop buckets to empty.
But then when I clock out and leave the shelter something changes – all of a sudden there is nothing to do but walk to the bus stop and get on the bus. Since I can do these things without thinking about, my brain is free to process what happened at the shelter during the day. If it was a hard day this means I can breathe a bit and let my mind relax.
But what happens more often is that I find myself being grateful for the experience in a way I wasn’t during my shift. All of a sudden all the events of the day, and all of the youth and staff at the shelter, become transformed from hectic waystations marking the passage of the day to a complete picture – I can appreciate all the quirks, foibles, and humanness of the people I encountered.
I guess that sometimes space away from a place is the perfect way to help me appreciate that space.