My job keeps me humble. Every day broken hearts and lost love by the thousands come through the Clearing House, and part of my job is sorting through the morass, deciding what’s repairable, and we send that up to the Techs with the appropriate work orders, but the tough ones are those we ship back for further grief processing. Sometimes hearts that looked relatively untarnished come back several more times – each time more ragged and bruised. I’ve been tempted to send encouraging notes with those, but I’m not a Technician, and I’d probably only make it worse.
The Clearing House selected me when I was fifteen, and my empathic powers weren’t developing as my parents had hoped. I couldn’t repel others’ grief, and you have to keep your emotions out of it if you’re going to be a Technician. Filtering others’ emotions through my heart used to cause me terrible sadness, but being a Sorter has clarified what’s mine, and how to not attach my heart to others.
Not that I’m immune to heartbreak – I’ve had several leaves of absence while my heart was sorted – and my work review has had several underscores in grief differentiation skills, and too much entanglement. It has taken me nearly twenty years to learn the craft, and I still slip up now and then. The older crew worried about me, and a few times I was almost done for, but I made it back, and I hope the last leave was exactly that!
Trey swore he’d never seen a heart that torn up mend, and I owe a lot to the techies – especially Marcia, bless her heart, who took my heart home for some extra care, even though she wasn’t supposed to. I guess even Technicians can score low on entanglement sometimes.
Dealing with lost love is trickier than straight-up broken hearts. There’s often so much hope left that you’d think it would be easier to sort out, but lost love is like a bottomless pit. You send it up to Tech, and it comes right back down to be sorted as hopes rise and fall, and we do our best to piece it all back together into something workable. Sometimes the best that Tech can do is rearrange pieces to fit, but sometimes there’s only a shell left, the insides are all fragments.
The best part of the job is seeing mended hearts, and when love is found – either old or new. It’s difficult, but the world couldn’t exist without our work. The Techs get most of the gratitude, but they share it with us because the entire operation is only as good as its parts.
Last week, I picked up a heart, and was just about to toss it into the irretrievable pile, when it fluttered and shimmered for several seconds. It wasn’t really enough to send up to Tech, but my empathy must be getting better because I couldn’t toss it. I knew I might get reprimanded, but I was prepared to defend my decision. Turns out, I didn’t have to. We don’t always get to know particular stories, but yesterday Marcia came down to tell me that the heart I saved was from a young woman who reminded Marcia of me. She almost didn’t make it, Marcia confided, but just as Marcia was about to stop resuscitation, the heart leaped and glowed stronger than ever. Marcia delivered it personally – she might be the one reprimanded if management finds out! – but the woman decided to love herself, and finally knew that she was enough.
I’m so glad Marcia shared that with me because it helps keep me strong too.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.