Monday, April 26, 2010

75 shout-outs. Just 1 call.

Last week I hit my big 75 mark. 75 applications for 75 different jobs! And so, we baked a cake. Sure, it was officially for my husband, Mark's birthday. However, I held a little piece of it for myself to celebrate these 75 hopeful endeavors. Although I also affectionately call them my little ego shakers, they are still my optimistic testimony to a simple belief...that my next calling is coming soon.

Last week I woke up in the middle of the night with that nagging call feeling again. "Go and look for jobs right now," a little inner voice said. And so, I listened. I went straight to my computer and spent the next 2 hours searching and applying to different international development positions at CARE, Catholic Relief Services and World Vision. And then I saw it...and I mean IT. A Senior Policy Advisor for Humanitarian Response in Haiti position at Oxfam America. "Yes!" I almost shouted out loud. This felt like what I had been looking for. I have been encountering Haiti everywhere I go: doing a little consulting for Haitian Americans and Volunteer Efforts, volunteering with the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians and now coordinating my church's Haiti Response Team. I felt like this position made so much sense to me...it could use my French, my program management skills, my passion for advocacy, desire to liaise with development efforts on the ground and heartbreak over Haiti's recovery efforts. And so, I worked hard for the next 4 hours on that application and said a little extra prayer over it as I hit the send button.
Haitians know about ego shaking...figuratively and literally. Imagine losing your entire home, your capitol and remaining infrastructure, your confidence in the future. Job searching is not even an option. Where are the jobs? No one has jobs to offer, products to sell or money with which to buy them. Life becomes a race for survival in which no one cares if you have secret gifts just waiting to be discovered. And yet, isn’t there still hope for Haiti? 

The truth of the matter is that life is hard sometimes…and especially hard for some. The challenge to survive, much less thrive, is a reality that affects each person and culture at some point in their life. I believe it was Nelson Mandela who said that it is difficult to truly understand the suffering of another. Just keeping this knowledge close to our hearts, though…that we have all struggled to find our calling and survive in the global jungle, is a way to build ourselves up strong again. And keeping our hearts open to the suffering of others…of those who have nothing close to the same amount of opportunities that we do, can inspire us with new courage and compassion. It can also help us find that one true calling…that crossroads where our greatest gifts and desires finally meet the world’s greatest needs.

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