Usually, I find that profound inspiration comes in threes. Today's inspiration was cleverly disguised as one of my physician's nurses, an exhausted checkout clerk at Home Depot, and with no surprise, my grandmother.
To me, the nurse represented OPPORTUNITY.
Here was an older woman navigating her way swimmingly through life; going to back school, studying for and passing exams (despite being plagued with terrible exam jitters, as she admits) and still putting in practical hours at the local doctor's office. The nurse represented the idea that it is never too late to become what you want to be. If only you can overcome your fears and commit to working and putting in the time, believe it or not... you find that you can still achieve your dreams.
To me, the Home Depot clerk represented the LABOR.
A young clerk was putting in extra holiday hours and working two jobs. I thought, "Well, he must be doing it to support his children." So I inquired further and asked him, "WHY?"
He replied, "Just to make a better life for myself."
He said he wants better things in his life, a nice apartment, nice clothes and furniture, and so he has decided to put in the extra effort to work hard for what he wants.
I asked, "You don't have any kids? No wife? There is no one that you are supporting?"
"No," he said "Only me."
He was working so hard simply because he WANTED to. Not because he was forced to do it, not because there was some court order that mandated a payoff amount for some judgment; not because of some guilt complex.... He was working for himself, simply because he had the desire to get what he wants in life.
Finally, a third façade of inspiration presented itself in the same day from my grandmother. My grandmother represented the ideal of TENACITY.
Let me tell you, if you ever want to feel like the sorriest sod in the world, then just listen to what your elders have to say.
My grandmother told me about a time when she lived in a wooden house, a shack more or less, with no insulation, in Minnesota. She said that their children slept in a back room while she and my grandfather slept on the porch, in the winter. She said because the porch was her bedroom, she would wake up some days with FROST on her blankets.
Now, after listening to that story, don't I feel like a sissy? I'm worried about getting a little bit cold as winter approaches while we are living in a one-hundred year old fixer-upper house where we have just put in insulation, we're starting to seal up the drywall, and we're using two kerosene heaters for heat. My grandmother's words made me realize that we are pampered little crybabies compared to our elders.
Now, if I could just invoke a little bit of what I learned today... I'm sure I won't have any more trouble with motivation, optimism or tenacity while working my job or piecing together this little house. If indeed I still falter and end up stuck in weak moments, I certainly don't have any right to complain about it.
Copyright © 2006 Rebekah Faith
Rebekah Faith, author of "Picking up the Pieces" is an inspirational columnist. She works as an offshore development manager; she moonlights as a writer, and is also currently working with friends and family, rebuilding a one hundred year old house.