So here's the thing- I don't share my own personal journey online. There are lots of reasons for that. But today, I just feel I should. I don't know why; perhaps it's because someone needs to hear it. Perhaps it's just because I need to put written words to it. I don't know, but here goes.
After leaving my beloved teaching job a few years ago, I floundered for about a year. I didn't know where I fit in the world without teaching. I grieved for the job that was never just a job to me. It was the love of my life. I worked with children with special needs. Some in wheelchairs, some unable to speak and all with learning difficulties...I loved, taught, cared for and nurtured them. They always gave me more than I could ever give them. But two back surgeries ended my career with one slam of the gavel. And I was left with a hole in my life, a hole in my heart.
As if predicted by fate, my father had given me letters he'd written to his folks during the war- before my first surgery, while I was still teaching. Little did I know that those letters would save me. I had begun transcribing them and now, while recovering from surgery, I continued. Then I began meeting my father for breakfast once a week; I asked questions about the war. I went home and wrote what I learned. Slowly, as a story emerged- my grief began to fade.
I completed the book at the end of 2006. Then I began sporatically sending articles and stories about anything I could think of to various publications, both online and print. I truly began freelancing in April 2007. My first freelance success was an online newsletter called "In the Margin" which is published by Kristen King. It may have only been $10 but to me it was much more. It meant that perhaps there was a place for me in the world afterall. Perhaps I did have something to share that was worthwhile. And maybe, just maybe...I would be able to once again contribute financially to the care of my family.
Looking back over the last few years, I can see that I've come such a very long way. I've received words of encouragement which propelled me forward. So to those of you who may think that your small token of praise is just a cluster of words, I say to you, Those are words of life to a dry spirit. Never hold them back-you don't know what beauty, what hope can come from them. And if you are a person who has blossomed under sprinkles of praise, pass it on. You may never know the results of your words, but the world will.
Thanks to all my encouragers,
photo: I came across this flower a few days ago. It was blooming from a crack in the cement wall of an old building - against all odds.