I believed that I had no useful purpose in the world. I worked for the local telephone company, and all day long, I answered people’s complaints with their computers or printers. While I knew that the work was important, I felt like a cog in a machine, not someone offering a uniqueness perspective to people that would help them believe in themselves.
I had recently ended a marriage, and although the marriage was tremendously stressful, I missed being a Mrs. I thought that for women, being a wife was the epitome of femininity. Worrying about what other people would think of me as a divorced woman became a barrier to moving forward in my life.
Then, one day, as I stood on a street corner, waiting for the traffic light to change, I had a frightening thought, “If I step into the traffic and get hit by multiple cars, all this pain will end.” It scared me so bad that when the light changed, I walked straight to my doctor’s office about four blocks away.
After I told him what had happened, he sent me immediately to see a psychiatrist in the same building. That doctor listened to me, and he said that I did not need medication, but someone who could listen and help me sort out my feelings. And that is how I met an incredible woman named Mary.
Mary was a psychologist, and from the first visit, she and I had a warm rapport. It was not a friendship, but certainly we came over a course of months to appreciate each other’s presence. She was probably the wisest person I had ever met.
It was Mary who spoke the words that changed my life forever, “Your mind is going to waste. Do not come for your next appointment before getting an application to go to college.” I thought she was now the crazy one! I was 36 years old, eighteen years out of high school, had never taken the SAT exam, and had five children and two grandchildren at home. What college was going to accept me?
Then, she told me of going to college in her thirties with two children still at home, and of struggling until she earned her PhD and opened her practice. She was so inspiring that I told my supervisor what she said, and she obtained and application for me to go to school. I applied and was accepted to college, and I was allowed to take regular courses, which was nothing short of a miracle.
I first majored in mathematics, but after taking a Sociology class as an elective, I changed my major, finding that I loved writing essays (that doesn’t surprise you at all, does it?). Sitting in the teaching theaters at Georgia State University, I was stunned at how much I loved learning.
Following in Mary’s footsteps, I kept struggling to juggle work, children, and school work, until fI reached my goal. Mary was one of the first people I called when I became a “Doctor,” and she was overjoyed at my success. I thanked her for inspiring me to seek my destiny.
Then I started teaching. I found so much joy in encouraging, inspiring, and helping students to be their best, convincing each one of their value and worth in the classroom and in the lives of people around them.
So often we wonder about our purpose in life, questioning if we are of value to anyone. I have come to believe that God appoints us all to a calling. He said in Jeremiah 1:5, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
Tell your stories to others, through your blogs or in conversations, and let the lessons of your life inspire someone else to seek their destiny, their place in the world, a job or a calling that only they can perform for the world.
Thankfully, God got me to my destiny through Mary, and I am so thankful that I did not step into traffic that day, but trusted that He would lead me to the help I needed. I so miss teaching, and I may go back to it as an adjunct professor until I am well into my 70s when we move back to Atlanta. I have to wait and see where God is leading us.