My heart is always in tune to single parents or people striving toward improving their current situation. Having faced some pretty desperate situations, I completely empathize. I am careful to observe actions, reactions, choices & habits of others as to determine if the current state is indeed a cyclic behavior pattern or a true emergency. It thrills me to see changes occur from assisting others with a hand up, not necessarily hand outs. There is a definite difference & I learned to discern it long ago. While I am sensitive to needs, I am not a bleeding heart. Compassionate, yet cautious!
Recently an incidence occurred that stirred me to assist. While discussing it with a friend, I could hear this phrase going over & over in my mind.
Instead of casting the first stone of judgement, guilt or condemnation, perhaps we could cast the stone that creates the ripple effect.
Why not re-frame our thoughts? Instead of thinking, “I can’t believe they’re doing this. I would never……..” How about asking, “How can I help that person achieve their next goal?” I understand we live in an instant gratification, self entitlement society. Everywhere we look, compassion is demanded & repetitively taken for granted. What if we stop stereotyping everyone into certain categories & truly attempt to ask simple questions? It’s easier to judge!
Except for the grace of God, I would be in dire straights. At an early age I chose to get an education in a field that had been my passion since the tender age of 4 years old. Nursing. I was the greatest nurse to all our farm animals & they knew I would take very good care of them. So what if it meant getting a “shot” from my moms straight pins!!! I experienced divorce almost immediately after graduation & that career provided for my family for 26 years. One choice. One act of courage. I refused to let circumstances define me. Once I moved from LA to TX, I made the decision to leave the nursing field. I can explain why in hopes you can understand. The same career that provided for my children also became my crutch when it came to trusting God. I needed Him in every area of my life except this. Yes I trusted Him to provide agency, float pool, travel & nursing strike assignments. I daily prayed for these. However…….I knew I had a job anywhere. My prayer for others needing employment even began with how grateful I was to have this ability, but……deep down I knew I could make things happen on my own. When God instructed me to move to Texas, I had to know He was my all in all. I felt like Esther…….if I perish, I perish, but…….I would not resort to putting my hand in the area of nursing for provision. Many could argue that God did provide that for me through a nursing degree. I understand that part, but again……I could make things happen.
So…..after moving to Texas & bouncing around a few dead end jobs, I enrolled in a computer course to gain required skills for practically every job I was interested in. That one act of courage landed a job specifically designed for me during the FEMA Katrina Aid Today Recovery Program as a Corporate Tech Trainer. Once that program ended, my position was absorbed by the same department & 10 yrs later, I’m still at the same organization. Funny thing…….prior to becoming a Corporate Trainer, I decided to enroll in a local Community College for Grant Writing classes. Instead I was hired & when my Trainer position ended, my new title became Divisional Grants & Program Analyst. I was trained & currently process grants/contracts in every phase from a statewide position. I also assist locations submit internal proposals for new programs. One act of courage to take a computer course, that led to a job, that trained & prepared me for what my initial area of interest was. I must admit the in-between time was a little scary. Well, a lot scary to be honest!! Embracing uncertainty is not one of my strengths. In doing so, I learned fortitude, courage, faith, trust, faith, hope, faith, tenacity & faith! LOL! I feel empowered that from here, I could go anywhere.
I give that example because there are many people, like myself, wandering through the valley of decision. Maybe they’ve decided & their fate is temporarily hanging in the balance of preparation time. It’s not pretty. I learned long ago that regardless of how it appears, preparation time is never wasted time. Remember……we will reap if we faint not!
Many years ago someone believed in me. Rapides Parish developed a program granting me to be paid minimum wage while attending nursing school. My computer & career development course was offered through a local organizational grant. My OJT (on the job training) provided more wisdom & experience than any college course could ever begin to provide. Out of desperation, I acted on every hand up I received. My personal task now is to see how I can pay it forward for others. Before we judge, I encourage everyone to see how a simple stone in the form of an act of random kindness, creating a ripple effect, could change the course of a family for generations to come. I love this quote:
Except for grace…….
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
– 2 Corinthians 1:3-4