Isn’t it interesting that we prefer the saying “This too shall pass” over “Give it time”, though both relatively mean the same thing? “Give it time” is just about the most disheartening advice you could give to someone desperately yearning for something, whether it be a job, a relationship, healing or even Peace of mind. Give it time! Give it time? You don’t understand what I’m going through, brother! Put yourself inside my shoes, or have you forgotten what it feels like to feel like this, sister? But…”This too shall pass” and a moment of peace washes over us. We want to repeat it as many times as possible until we believe it, until we gain perspective. This too shall pass. One day, I’ll wake up whole/employed/satisfied/healthy/able/full/me again. “This Too Shall Pass” is a way to let them/us know you walk with them, they feel for us, pray for us, hope with us.
Today marks the 1-month anniversary of my first job out of college. It’s amazing how much can happen in a month. In a month, I went from casual, laid-back post-college young person to employee. In a month, I went from ‘new-driver-hyperventilating-at-driving-at-25-mph’ to driving on the highway. In a month, I learned a lot about helping. I’m sure all the other “idealistic” young people are learning the same things about our desire to help, our desire to make a difference whether they be teaching for America, leading/coordinating/digging/assisting in the Peace Corps or doing the 9-5 for a corporate or non-profit organization. Where is the gap between ‘good intentions’ and ‘positive results’?
For me, I’m finding out that, just because you have a good heart doesn’t mean all the people you want to help are ready to receive your help, or receive it the way you’re offering it. [If you already learned this lesson, go ahead and roll your eyes, say “I told you so”, just so you can get it out of your system before we get in any deeper.] Not every student is interested in going to college. Not every student want to ask questions about the college life, or sit for hours listening to college admissions counselors talk about how to get into one. Just because high school upperclassmen are nearing the end of their teens and in cases look taller/older than you does not mean that they are all mature and responsible.
So, what happens when you realize that the concepts you learned sitting in lecture, watching TED videos or listening to inspirational speakers doesn’t quite match up with the reality “in the field”? The initial reaction may be to question your aspirations, your desires and re-consider what you’ve always said you wanted to do. I did. When co-workers told me “you remind me of myself when I was young and idealistic”, I thought about it: does youth equate idealism? Is idealism mis-guided ideas about life? how do some people (I’ve heard of them and know a few) manage to remain excited and passionate about their field, 15, 25, 45 years later?
Where do you go from there, after this initial reaction? I brought it up with family members and had a productive conversation. While these were things I observed, I also observed a few students who couldn’t get enough about information about college. They were barely out of high school and wanted to know about grad school. They bugged me with a hundred questions about College Life and actually looked interested. So, there it was. The realization that you come with the knowledge, the expertise…or at least the enthusiasm to make a difference to help those who ask or are ready for your help and then what? In some cases, you ask “do you need my help?” and move forth based on the answer. In other cases, those who want your help reveal themselves.
But, one thing I’m still wrestling with, is where does that leave the others? The others that aren’t too thrilled to have you where you are or could care less? After all, you are being paid or have signed a contract to make yourself available to ALL. Do you build within them the motivation to desire/want/accept your help? If so, how? It’s something I haven’t found the answer for yet.
If you’ve been here and you have constructive suggestions, feel free to put them in the comments space below. I’m always up for learning something new.