it’s okay if doing well seems awfully hard

Posted: July 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

If you’ve never worked with seniors, maybe you don’t know that nursing homes get “surveyed” annually by the state Department of Public Health.  These surveys are unannounced and may begin at any time of the day or night, even on the weekends.  As you can imagine, neither the process nor its timing are optional. 

At work we just got through our annual survey.  The days of having a surveyor in the house usually feel long and stressful.  The surveyors are looking to write “deficiencies.”  They talk to residents, to their families, to staff.  They comb through resident files.  They demand and examine policies. Deficiencies may come with or without fines.

We just recently had a training, courtesy of a former surveyor, who helped us understand that surveyors NEED to write deficiencies, especially here in the state of Illinois, due to the fact that additional surveyors have been hired with no budget to pay them.  Write deficiencies that incur fines, and maybe you’ll keep your job.  How’s that for a high pressure job?!

I am pleased and proud to say that for the third time in four years, we were found deficiency free.  THAT, my friends, is an unlikely feat and an evidence of why we have consistently gotten 5-star ratings through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and been rated among the top 1% of all nursing homes by U.S. News & World Report.  I’m not gonna lie…IT IS FUN, working for and with people who do their best to do it best – and not just slide by with “good enough.” 

The staff that I work with most closely are the leadership team – a.k.a. department heads.  Since day one of my employment there, I have been pretty much in awe at my boss’s ability to hire smart and then to draw the absolute best out of his staff.  I work among what are surely the rock stars of our profession.

But this ain’t all just a blog to brag.  There’s a point.

When I was in high school, I was one of those annoying people who generally always made the Dean’s List – like, I was kind of traumatized on the occasions when I “only” made the Honor Roll.  College was harder (and I had a husband and a child and multiple jobs), so I learned to get used to life on the Honor Roll.  I was thinking about that, as I walked out the door today after work, feeling the palpable relief of staff everywhere that the trial of the survey is OVER. 

Sometimes we think that those who do really well, also do it really easily.  That trials aren’t as hard for them, that they have been handed life on a silver platter, that they breeze through the tests with an easy smile and a light heart. 

I’m here to tell you, getting a perfect survey was no easy breezy feat for ANY of the rock stars with whom I work.

Staying on the Dean’s List was not a low-effort proposition. 

And sometimes, we understand that, when it comes to things like surveys and grades.  But where we often DON’T understand it is in the spiritual realm. 

We all too often tend to think that those who live more obediently find it easy…that they are just made that way.

We suppose that those whose connection to God is more visible don’t struggle with daily decisions.  Don’t have to slog their way through difficult relationships. 

Today was a good reminder for me:  just because walking with Jesus often feels like serious hard work…sometimes feels like pulling an all-nighter…frequently feels like being on the brink of constant failure….doesn’t mean I’m necessarily failing at it. 

I don’t have to find it easy, to be found faithful. 

Often success feels like it’s by the skin of my teeth.  OFTEN.  And that’s okay.  It doesn’t have to be automatic or easy or fun or natural to be good. 

That comforts this clumsy woman living one beautiful life.

Maybe it comforts you too. 

  1. Dori says:

    Yes! I get frustrated with myself for having to work on my spiritual walk even though I work so hard to do well in the physical realm. I never made that connection. Thanks for sharing!

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