Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Finding Your Way during Transition Emily came to me because she was depressed and anxious. She had lost her job (down-sized) and felt like a ship without a rudder or a port. Truthfully, it was not a great job – answering phones, some computer work and record keeping. It wasn’t inspirational or particularly fulfilling, but she did get a paycheck. As I got to know Emily, she admitted that she never had a passion for anything, or a career vision, or something she was driven to do, but she always liked helping people. She also had a strong spiritual connection and found comfort in solitude. Those were the two things we decided to build on…. quiet time and helping others. First to deal with depression, Emily had to come to terms with the idea that losing her unfulfilling job was not a great deficit. Her greater loss, in her estimation, was not having structure in her life. She felt lost without a plan or a place to go to implement it. The disposition of the paycheck was really more about the cultural idea that to be paid money for what you do equates having value. Yet, on investigation, there are other ways to be paid that do not involve money. This is what Emily was about to discover. Thus, Emily started listening to her heart and she took action. She had always enjoyed working at the community food pantry handing out groceries to people in need. And they were so appreciative. So she upped her hours at the food pantry. Then she found another charity that assisted young girls obtain party dresses so that they could attend school dances and proms. She helped this group get organized and devised efficient methods to serve more young ladies. Plus, there was the bookstore that needed help and Emily loved books. It seemed Emily’s niche was in discovering community needs and filling them because next she volunteered at a home for older folks and visited weekly with some of the residents. And they loved that! In a few months Emily’s anxiety about “not working” and her depression over not feeling valued was gone and in its place was a radiant woman with a beautiful smile and a heart filled with joy. The weight she had lost due to worry was being replaced slowly and that was a good thing. Emily knew she had been guided to her new life and the structure she needed was of her own making. Tuesday and Thursday she put smiles on people’s faces as she handed out broccoli and turkey at the pantry; Monday she helped at the “prom dress” charity; Friday she visited the older adults and so on. In the middle of all this, she took up yoga, and spent time in quiet at the local chapel. The last time Emily we visited, Emily beamed brightly, ”I have the best job in the world and my payment is personal fulfillment.”

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