I have some big news, some really big news! After volunteering at the hospital and steadily having conversations with a few people here and there, something big for me has evolved. My proposal for a pilot summer reading program has been accepted!!! It will be an eight week project and it is related to my graduate studies. It will be a great experience and falls right in line with what I will need to do for my final project to complete my program. If all goes well, this could be really fantastic for me!
And thinking on it, the whole progression puts me back to when I was in some of my darkest moments in my life, both on the heels of facing infertility and soon after in coping with my divorce. I had volunteered at other hospitals and I was looking forward to continuing it once I settled in Pennsylvania. I have heard from several sources that when you are feeling down and at your worst, sometimes that is the best time to give back. It helped to take the focus off of myself and allowed me to put my energy towards making someone's life better. It was a much needed break from outside of my own head and to feel purposeful. I did not realize it until I was able to step back. As the old hospital was closing and the new one was opening, everyone was invited to write on the walls in the hospital--patients, families, nurses, doctors, staff, and volunteers. My message reflecting my experience was deeply personal and at that moment I felt forever grateful for having an outlet from my pain. And I continue to feel grateful.
It was also around the time when I was reading Joel Osteen's book, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. One thing that was mentioned in the book is the importance of planting little seeds. It is when you start doing good in whatever form and continue to cultivate it, good and unexpected things can happen. And that is exactly how this whole proposal came to be. About two and a half years ago I started volunteering at the hospital. I felt very motivated to speak up and share from my heart in promoting education for children receiving long-term care. I formed some wonderful relationships with people with genuine energy, passion, and vision. My time at the hospital also lead me to my current professional development path in working towards my Master's. And now I am blessed with an opportunity to promote my passions in literacy, tie it into my studies in applied developmental psychology, and expand my experiences at the hospital.
Two and a half years ago I felt so lost and broken. My identity continued to tumble and crash. As I was trying to figure out how I was going to put my life back together and move forward, I was blessed that my ex was flexible to allow me to continue my volunteer work and backhandedly supported my thoughts on going back to school. I say this because I don't think he thought I could really get into graduate school. His words were the right thing to say, but they were empty and hollow. He told me with a quiet sigh, "Jamie, you don't have to climb mountains." He thought my efforts to try to improve the school program and to promote educational rights of hospitalized children was too big for me. Glad to say he was wrong!
So now the real work begins! I am excited and nervous and in awe. It will be a lot to do, but so worth it. I want to make every moment count. I have a post-it from my adviser, who is ridiculously awesome, and it has become my new mantra.
GET TO WORK--You aren't being paid to believe in the power of your dreams.
It is awesome to have dreams. It is even better when you can make them happen.