Wow! The last Thursday in August – this year is really flying by! I’m looking forward to autumn, however. This blog entry is going to be a bit different today and you will see why in a bit.
Last Friday, the director of my part-time library job e-mailed us all that the son of one of our co-workers had died. I was at my full-time job and saw the e-mail at lunch; shock was an understatement because he was only 34 years old. I sent my co-worker a fruit basket and a sympathy card.
I’m not Catholic; I was raised Catholic but began my faith journey finding the right faith when I was 12. I settled on Islam and for a few years, I was uncomfortable about participating in family events in fear of people on Facebook accusing me of not being serious in my faith. Well, I deleted Facebook and I thought to myself, “who cares? When I was a child, I participated in events with friends of a different religion and it didn’t matter.” I went to the funeral today; I paid my respects, I prayed in my own way, and no one really cared that I didn’t participate in the sacraments, as they shouldn’t because the funeral was for everyone that was grieving.
At the end of the day, it does not matter because we each have our own paths to God and it does not matter. I believe in being there for my loved one; yes, I consider friends and co-workers “loved ones” because they are like my family too. I was there for my co-worker and I wanted to offer my empathy. I didn’t know her son, although I let him borrow my textbooks, but I wanted to be there for my co-worker. I gave her, and her husband a big hug. I gave my co-worker an even bigger hug and said, “please do not hesitate in reaching out to me. If you need anything, please call me.” Her elderly mother was there; most didn’t give her a hug (she was in a wheelchair), I offered my condolences, she grabbed my hands, but I gave her a hug instead. I think hugs are more powerful than words.
After the service, I went back to my full-time job. I took two hours off from that job and I am grateful my manager let me. When I got to the library later in the day, my other co-worker was chatting with the one that lost her son; she told me that co-worker was surprised that I showed up, but she was extremely grateful that I was there. My presence helped and I was glad I could be there for her.
I believe, as I was raised, that while our exteriors are different, our interiors are all the same. We all bleed, have the same bodily functions, and we all feel; we should treat others with kindness. As I’m seeing this year, as this was my goal for the year, as I’m spending time with different groups of people, I am learning a lot and growing in the process. I don’t really care what others have to say about it because I feel that exposing ourselves to different people, makes us empathize with others and we see that while we are different, we are similar too. By being more open, you can overcome many prejudices and fears. I refuse to close myself off because I changed faiths; I never closed myself off as a child and I refuse to close myself off as an adult.
I’m thankful for the people I work with. When I got back to my full-time job, we threw a party for the one girl that is switching departments. From sadness to happiness, but that is life and I am glad I could be there for people at both of my jobs.
What are you thankful for?
One thought on “Thankful Thursday 30 August 2018”
Hi, Jessica Marie!
You are a leader, dear friend. You lead by example. I am very proud of your for being there for your co-worker friend following the death of her young son. You sent a fruit basket and card and attended the funeral. After the service you reached out and shared yourself with her and other grieving family members. You made a difference. You demonstrated the power of genuine caring. While it is always easier for people to huddle together and exclude people who are different in certain ways, breakthroughs are achieved when they drop their defenses and reach out to others simply because it is the right thing to do. The ripple effect of random acts of kindness such as yours cannot be measured, but they surely have the potential to change the world. That’s powerful.
I wish you a safe and happy weekend, dear friend JM!