Are you happy in your life today? I pray that you are.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying that a man who loves his work never works a day in his life. I believe that’s partly true but I also believe almost every job has aspects to it that almost everyone would find annoying, boring or just plain onerous. Still, if you like your job more than you don’t like it, you’re one of the fortunate ones.
When I was a young woman, I lost the only well-paying job I ever had because of a pregnancy. Today, nobody can fire you for being pregnant, but they could then and they did. While I was still pregnant, I began working another job that was physically arduous, uncommonly boring and low paid. There as I lowly, factory worker in a filthy run-down small town manufacturing facility, I labored for the next seven years.
I was reasonably intelligent and was certainly capable of doing an office job, but I was stamped with the image I was living. No one would give me an opportunity to break out of the factory.
I will never forget a conversation I had with the bookkeeper of the factory one day after I had already worked at that factory for five or six years. She said this: “You girls are always griping about your jobs and I don’t understand it. I love my job.”
I don’t remember what I actually said to her, but I remember what I thought, “I’d love YOUR job too.”
Shortly after that, I began to have some strange spells with my head that even today I can attribute to nothing but stress. It was a feeling as if my brain was being nudged. Once it was so severe I felt like I had been slammed in the head. When my head stopped spinning, I looked around to see if someone had actually hit me. It was clear that the factory wasn’t good for me but I needed to make a living. I had been remarried a couple of years to a wonderful man, but he was at the beginning of his career and we needed two incomes to support our family.
Perhaps it was my dear aunt Emilina, to whom we were both close, who alerted my cousin Betty, an illustrious professor at a prestigious university, about my situation. Betty invited our family to dinner. After dinner she told me she wanted to pay for my education and give me money to live on so that I could get out of the factory. I realize now that she could have well-afforded to do just what she said. I could actually have completed the three years I needed to graduate college; but at the time I was as proud as I was poor. I embarked on the quickest mode of education I could discover, a nine month course as a secretary.
Betty bought me a state of the art typewriter and sent me money every month which I used for tuition, gasoline and babysitting. We were careful and my husband’s income took care of everything else. I kept track in a small notebook of every cent Betty sent me.
I enrolled in the business school along with about fifty other students. All but two students were in a government program available at that time that paid them to go to school. Ironically, because I had been gainfully employed at a job that I doubt any of those other forty-eight people would have done, I was not eligible for that program. Along with one student from Africa, I was paying my own way—with Betty’s assistance.
It was a hard time for me. Because it would save a substantial sum of money, I made up my mind to get through the course in record time, so I did two proscribed lessons for each class every day, while taking care of my two small boys and an ailing father. Although a severe case of pneumonia forced me to suspend my classes for four weeks, I still finished the nine-month course at the end of six months.
When I found my job as a bookkeeper a few weeks later, it paid a little less than the factory job I had quit earlier that year but there was the promise of raises to come. I immediately began sending checks back to Betty and in the end, I repaid her in full—all except for the cost of the typewriter which she insisted was a gift that she would not allow me to repay. I bought her a present in return.
It is to Betty that I owe the fact that today I can say that I enjoy my life. If you don’t enjoy yours, I hope someone will help you find a better life as well. More importantly, I hope in some way I am passing along what Betty did for me to others I meet along the way. I am not so successful that I can put someone through college, but I am successful enough to give aid to people that need it when I perceive their need. Whenever I do so, it is in memory of Betty.
Always Be Humble and Kind
My twin brother and I were raised by our grandparents. They have taught us so many things about life, but the one thing that has always stuck with me is to always be humble and kind no matter what you do in life. My grandpa always told us no matter where life leads you, always remember your values and where you came from. He was a colonel in the Air Force for 20 years, and then became a lawyer and owned his own law firm for another 20 years. Today, at age 83, he is a cashier at Walmart and you would never know what all he has done because he is that humble. People go to his register to see him because he always puts a smile on their face. He has taught us that it doesn’t matter what you do or have done, it’s about who you are and your character. He really does teach by example.
My Support System
Ever since I was young, my parents and older brother have always cheered me on – whether it was at a dance competition, piano recital, or an academic accomplishment. They were there even when I attempted 1 of 10 sports, only to later realize I just wasn’t that athletic. Point is – they never stopped to tell me I couldn’t do something or to quit. They encouraged me every step of the way, and went the extra mile to be the parent that was the volunteer soccer coach or would rearrange their hectic schedules for my passions and growth.
My family became a main value through these childhood moments, and are also integral to every other value I hold important – whether it’s learning persistence or respect for others. They have instilled in me these values from a young age, and continue to help me abide by them. At every major turning point in my life whether its choosing a college or a full time job, I rely on them for their advice, and consider how to maintain this value while being away. In 5 years, I know family will be of equal importance to me and will always strive to make it known to them that they are my greatest value.
Submitted by Ayeesha
Poem of Peace
Our nation’s innocence is lost,
Stolen by acts of hate.
Helpless people paid the cost,
For them it is too late.
Daughters, sons, husbands, wives,
Sisters, friends and brothers.
All of them have lost their lives,
To senseless acts of others.
New York’s city has been defaced.
Bodies lay in rubble.
They can never be replaced.
But war won’t end our trouble.
Angers only escalate,
As we point out the guilt.
Violence will perpetuate.
While we dig through the silt.
Cries of anger, cries for war,
Echo in the air.
As if our bombs and missiles soar,
It will make it fair.
People claim “eye for an eye”
Our nation wants to fight.
If their innocent people die,
Then will that make US right?
Punishment surely must take place.
These murderers must pay.
But they are groups and not a race.
Keep liberty in mind, each day.
We are people of goodwill,
Of truth and love and light.
Please give thought before you kill,
Take heed before you fight.
We ask, what do we tell our children?
How do we give them ease?
Reactions set examples for them,
Should we not teach them peace?
Optimism – The Difference between Optimsts and Pessimists
In order to better understand people’s views of the world, a researcher once placed two children, one a pessimist and the other an optimist, alone in separate rooms.
The pessimist was placed in a colorful room full of all kinds of imaginative toys…the optimist was put in a room filled with horse manure.
The first child played in the room for a little while, but soon came to the door asking to leave because the toys were boring and because they broke too easily.
Likewise, the young optimist soon came to the door…but rather than asking to leave, she asked for a shovel.
Of course, the researcher asked the child why she wanted a shovel.
She replied, “With all this manure around, I know that there must be a pony in here somewhere.”
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