It always seems impossible … 
until it’s done.

Nelson Mandela

This week I began step one in the plan to launch the nonprofit I’ve been working on. I suppose it’s not really step one because I’ve been doing many things, including mountains of paper work and putting a board together, but this week began a more public launch.  I made the first steps to teach in a community development organization.  It’s important for me to partner with other local nonprofits in order to make mine successful, so this feels like the beginning. My NPO will have a workplace literacy component, so getting back to teaching adult ESL courses is something I’ve been looking forward to. The students are all recent immigrants and, as always, there are a few students that really knock me out. This time it was a couple from a small African country that had been in the U.S. a mere two months and were already a month in to an English language class. Their lives, and that of their two children, have been difficult, yet there was no trace of self-pity. They have been through things that would have crushed most people, yet they are optimistic. They have lost every material possession, yet they are grateful. There is a mix of pain and beauty in their eyes as they struggle with the language.  It moves my heart in ways I can’t describe and makes me so sure that I am moving in the right direction. I am so honored to have the chance to touch their lives.  People, my own age, starting over with nothing but their spirit and determination for something better.  It is humbling, and it should be.

It made me wonder about people I know. People with every opportunity, yet they continue to be angry for all that isn’t handed to them. Instead of working harder, they continue to find fault with everything around them rarely looking at their own hand in the way their lives have turned out. Is it easier to place blame? Well, maybe in the short run.  Is it narcissism that causes some people to blame everyone around them for their own circumstances?  Is it having so very little that causes others to just work that much harder when life is unfair?

It didn’t take long but I’ve learned more than I taught, and I’m sure that nothing is impossible unless you decide it is.

When I let go of what I am, 
I become what I might be.

Lao Tzu

About Magnolia Beginnings

Just when you think you have it all down it changes again or... “Reshaping life! People who can say that have never understood a thing about life—they have never felt its breath, its heartbeat—however much they have seen or done. They look on it as a lump of raw material that needs to be processed by them, to be ennobled by their touch. But life is never a material, a substance to be molded. If you want to know, life is the principle of self-renewal, it is constantly renewing and remaking and changing and transfiguring itself, it is infinitely beyond your or my obtuse theories about it.” ― Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

16 responses »

  1. I think many terms when we set out to teach, we end up learning more than we had ever thought we would. We live our lives blaming everyone except the very person responsible, ourselves!

  2. People with every opportunity, yet they continue to be angry for all that isn’t handed to them. Instead of working harder, they continue to find fault with everything around them rarely looking at their own hand in the way their lives have turned out. This is very revealing and is a first world issue for the most part, I think anyway. And I have to keep reminding myself that if I have food and shelter and community, everything else is gravy. I had a conversation with someone else the other day about how most of us live above our means and that is why we struggle here in north america. We live by an economy that is driven by money…how to change, I’m not really sure…but in other countries that work harder just to survive, not assuming that anything will be handed to them, but working for what they need…well there is a lot to be said for them and a lot to respect and admire.

  3. I could hug you right now you know!!! You made me beaming proud to know you! I can only think how very, very fortunate your students are. I have an especially soft spot for immigrants being one myself. To start from scratch. To feel lost in a completely new environment with no familiar landmarks to be rooted to. To not be half the person that you are because you are now communicating in a new language that diminishes rather than show you for who you are. And how kindness matters during such times in life when we are starting out, starting over.

    I want to thank you so much my dearest Mo for treating these beautiful folks with dignity and respect. Thank you for listening to their story because it is a story that matters to them. Thank you for making it that bit more easier for them. Thank you for welcoming them with open arms. I can assure you, these folks will remember you for the rest of their lives.

    With much love and did I ever tell you that the more I know you, I seem to like you just more and more?! 😀 I DO! Now you know. Sharon

  4. Now that your big launch is here, you sound completely relaxed and fully in charge. Great to hear that. You have done a magnificent job getting it to this stage. Congratulations. Well done and the very best of luck with your venture going forward. 🙂

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