“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” ~ Robert Frost
Have you ever had a gut feeling, a firm intuition that you were doing the right thing at the right time? I can’t say that I have. I am not blessed with those inner certainties, that unspoken confirmation. Maybe it is that I just don’t recognize the signs, perhaps I think it is gas! Some are more fortunate, having an inner bell that warns, that makes them know that something is wrong, or just right. My father (being a God-fearing man) said he always knew when God wanted him to do something, to make a big move, the change the course of his career.
It must be a blessing to be so sure of what you are doing. When faced with a big decision, I usually have to make lists, look at the pros and cons before I can make a decision. I have to confess that my last big career change, when I switched from being a hospital nurse to teaching nursing, the lists didn’t work. Although on balance it may have seemed as if the sensible thing would have been to stay in a place I had worked for over 15 years; to stay with a good salary, good coworkers, a job I knew; somehow I took a leap of faith and jumped into the unknown.
It was not until six months later that I could see that I had made the right move. It meant downsizing my financial needs, living very carefully for a while, but the non-material rewards were great, and to this day I am happy I decided to take the risk. But how can you know? Do you ask your friends? Flip a coin? Or do you rely on an inner feeling?
I recently heard a discussion about the current state of things for workers in this country. In some states there are laws which protect the schedules of low income workers, helping to ensure that they are not taken advantage of. Unfortunately, this is not universal. In many cases, low income workers are unable to obtain a flexible schedule which allows them to go back to school to try to improve their skills and employability. Some jobs require that employees are ‘on call’; they must be available to come in if needed, and then go home if the demand drops. Some are not even compensated for making the trip in to work. One of the guests on the show, the business woman, suggested that workers who feel abused by such practices should just change their job and go work for someone who is more lenient.
There seems to be a degree of cruelty in current practices. Many people do not have the freedom to jump from job to job looking for the perfect (minimum wage) employer. How many prospects are missed while people are struggling to meet the expectations of unreasonable employers?
But we may have opportunities that we miss by not making the most of them. Perhaps we have the chance to speak out on behalf of those less fortunate than ourselves, but through a lack of confidence we shrink back, hoping that someone else will do it. We don’t always see that perhaps we are the right person at the right place to change the course of history. Or we may take the opportunity and then waste it by not delivering our message in a way that is clear.
We all are not blessed with the gift of prophecy, able to see the potential within us. Did Mahatma Gandhi grow up knowing exactly what path to take? Did the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. come with directions, with a guidebook? Sometimes it is the firmness of the convictions, the recognition ‘if not me, then who’ that it might as well be me. Perhaps you are hearing that message, but trying to ignore it. The story of Jesus has him questioning the road that lay ahead of him. And yet he pressed on.
On Friday mornings we used to sing lustily, encouraged to ‘sing so the patients at Chapelton Hospital can hear you’ by my father. The hospital was on a hill on the other side of town, but he had once been told by a patient that they loved to hear the sound of the students singing in the morning. One of our favorite hymns contained the lines:
‘Therefore I, my father, pray,
That no golden chance may fly,
Missed and lost by me today.’
Having spent the week trying to recover from the wonderful activities of last weekend, I may have not been at my most alert this week! It is possible that I have missed some golden chances. Or perhaps I have said things I shouldn’t have said. Sometimes when I am tired, my filter doesn’t work as well as it should, and thoughts that should stay inside my head slip out! Sometimes we misread the actions of those around us, and when we are not paying attention, we miss seeing the needs of others.
This weekend I hope that you will take the time to restore and relax, and to top up on patience and sensitivity, so that you will better be able to pick up on signals and signs. We need to be on the lookout for the messages that the universes places in front of us, and learn the lessons that we need to learn. Even if you, like me, don’t get those inner feelings, perhaps we just need to pay more attention to those around us and respond accordingly.
Big thanks to all of those who supported our big fund-raising weekend. Although we have not finished our accounting, we know that we will be able to help many students this year, and continue to do our part to keep the flame of the Rev. Lester Davy burning bright in the hills of Chapelton. We felt the love of those who attended, but we also felt the love of those who were not able to attend. And beneath it all, we were aware that we stood on the shoulders of the giants who went ahead of us.
Have a great weekend Family!