My Mother’s Shoes

My lesson on patience in the pursuit of purpose

imagesGod created me; my mind, particularities, and my capabilities. However it was my Mother’s influence and inspiration that formed me into the person I am today. Growing up I was taught I had gifts and that there was a purpose for my life. Yet despite that great message, I have still struggled for many years with knowing what I am meant to do with my life.

Recently I started a job that quite surprised me, not only because it is work that I didn’t think I could ever be good at, but also because I really enjoy it. It has caused an epiphany that I feel changing the course of my life into one of clarity and certainty. I am working with disabled seniors; sometimes doing simple things that help bring joy to their lives, and sometimes doing complex things that help them navigate some personal struggle. It was my Mother who showed me a perspective that honors and respects the elderly; she exposed me to environments that taught me the needs, fears, and feelings they posses but for which they all too often lack acknowledgment of and/or care for. My mother has worked with the aging and disabled since I can remember, and she is passionate about it. She can brilliantly connect with them in ways that astonish me. To watch her effortlessly navigated and cultivate these relationships is truly heart-warming.

Growing up I would so often have a desire to connect and help them in a similar way, but all too often I felt awkward and unsure. For the longest time I felt so unworthy as a daughter, I wanted so badly to be able to do what my mom did, but I just didn’t seem to have her gift. Sometimes I felt this admiration so strongly that I would brainstorm ways in which I could get through nursing school, despite my many inhibitions (I do not have the stomach for it.) I knew I had the compassion she had, that is so necessary it working with elderly and disabled people, I felt the pain of it constantly. Unfortunately even though I possessed this, along with a desire to make a difference in the same way as my mother, I still always felt that something vital was missing that kept it out of reach. I resolved myself to believe that I was simply inadequate to ever fill my mothers shoes.

What I have since learned and now know, is that the only thing I really lacked was confidence. In my young and not yet mature mind, I confused the correlation of my inexperience and individuality with adequacy. I thought if I lacked the gifts that my mother so profusely possessed, I could never be like her or make an impact the way she has. However, you do not need to be an exact replica of someone, in order to follow in their footsteps. The lessons my mother showed me, and the inner pull I felt to help and connect with people in the way she did was significant; I was just in too much of a hurry to see that my time and opportunity had not yet matured.  I did not see that I could honor the things my mother taught me to see, understand, and appreciate, and apply that influence in ways that fit my own personal strengths and skill set.align-cute-nurse-shoes-wh0517dis_health04By this epiphany I have learned a lot. Although it is important to examine who we are closely and believe that we all have a specific purpose, even when nothing seems clear; we also have to trust the instincts we inherit from people who impact us, because there is a reason you feel a connection to the mark they leave. Most of all, give yourself time to grow up, mature, and get a little life experience under your belt before expecting your purpose to fall in to place. Some people are born knowing what they want to do, some people’s vision is clear, but some of us need to be patient. We don’t have to fit a mold exactly to follow in someones footsteps. Instead of wishing to be someone you look up to, instead take the lessons and inspirations they raise in you and like ingredient in a recipe, apply them in ways you are good at, making them your own creation. This realization is an eye opening reflection on patience, vision, and in knowing self-worth, specifically as an individual within a heritage. I am so grateful to finally start to see how my own gifts and skills can potentially help others in the way I’ve always hoped for.

So yeah, maybe I am not cut out to be a nurse, but I am cut out to work with people; to understand, comfort, and help them. As it turns out I am also cut out to work with the aging and disabled; since I found myself working with them, I have felt the pieces start to fall into place. I find that I am not only enjoying it and comfortable with it, but I am also very good at it. This is exciting for me as I now start to explore how I can grow within this work. I believe I am blessed to have inherited extremely valuable characteristics from my mom, and because of her influence over my life and the time it took to grow into myself, I have finally discovered a clear vision for my future. It is a purpose specific to me and who I am, but that honors the person who built me up to see and know the elderly and disabled in a beautiful way. It is so comforting to know that although I’m unique, I can fill my mother’s shoes.

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