Tag Archives: ESl

Impossible?

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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