This I Believe

Callie - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on April 25, 2007

This I believe

I believe in the spiritual belief that God has a purpose for everything in our life, and that he never gives you more than you can handle. I now believe, after 25 years, that sometimes that purpose doesn’t show up until much later.

I was eight when I saw my dad die in a tractor accident on November 14, 1981. I don’t really remember it, I know I was there, but an actual memory escapes me. Needless to say, my life changed dramatically on that gravel road. However, I learned a lot about life soon after. I learned to become the class clown, because my classmates avoided me when I cried, and I hated feeling different. I learned that if I wanted something done, I had to do it myself. I learned that life doesn’t always have a happy ending like the fairy tales I once enjoyed. What I didn’t learn, was that it was okay to be sad and mourn – and thus, had many rough moments until I left for college in the summer of 1991 -10 years later.

My job through college was as a child care provider in a small child-care center in Lawrence, Kansas. It was there, that I started to realize adults might judge you for not “dealing with the past,” but four-year olds don’t care about your past hurts. A four-year old just wants to play with you, and give you hugs. I’ll never forget my first “hug” I received on my second day working there. I don’t think I had ever just had someone run up to me, arms open wide, and inform me non-verbally that they were so happy to see me back! I loved that job so much. I loved working with those kids so much. I finally found some ray of sunshine after the storm that I had been living in for so long.

But, that was just the beginning of my journey towards my purpose. After college and graduate school, I became a Speech/Language Pathologist, and started traveling the country. I thought maybe by experiencing the United States away from Kansas, I might figure out “the purpose.” Once again, I found more sunshine – new faces from other countries that taught me to experience life through so many new channels: rock climbing, caving, camping, and traveling. I had a great time, and felt very independent. I learned a lot about myself during that time, but after 3-4 years, I decided to move back to Kansas.

On arriving back, I met up with old friends, fell into old routines, and met my future husband. I thought I had finally found all the sunshine I needed. However, about a month into my new job as a Speech/Language Pathologist in an elementary school, I heard the news about two students whose dad had recently passed away. I informed the counselor that I had lost my dad at about the same age as one of the boys, and told her he could come talk to me if he felt like it. One day, not long after, this seven year-old boy with blue eyes, blonde hair and freckles, came to my classroom because he needed to talk. I stopped everything I was doing, pulled up a chair, and listened. At first, he visited my room daily. We would talk if he needed to talk, or play games if he needed to laugh and have fun. I lost all of those games. I let him feel what he needed to feel; sometimes like nothing had happened, and sometimes, like his world would never be the same. I didn’t tell him what to feel, but how I had felt in almost the same situation. Things he told me, sometimes made me feel like I was eight again, things like the nightmares he had late at night. Sometimes he told me things that were unique to him, that I hadn’t experienced– like taking trips with his terminally ill father for the last time. He also talked about going to a non-profit organization that was specially designed for kids and families that had lost someone important in their life.

The purpose suddenly was so clear. Even though it took 25 years – the purpose in losing my dad was that I could be there for other kids who might be going through the same thing. My purpose is to help children get through this horrible event in a more positive way. I went through training to volunteer at that organization the next year.

I’ve moved since then, married since then, and become a mom since then. Life keeps happening for me. Recently in my new school, there was another child who just lost his dad. His teacher said to me soon after, that I was put in this school to help him through this, and I was able to tell her, that YES, this I do believe.