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Jan 30, 2018 | Ginga Graves

I Feel Like a Human Being

I’ve always struggled financially, so working very hard has been a necessity. My accountant recently told me that I had to continue working my job full-time until I was seventy. Well, there I was: a sixty-six year-old nurse – having worked forty years in panicky survival mode – feeling stuck, exhausted, spiritually drained, and now hopeless for the future. Yet I had no idea how I could change anything. Honestly, the only options I could foresee were continuing in this job, contracting a disease like a stroke putting me in a nursing home, or death.

 As a longtime friend of SSJE, I decided to follow the Lenten series “Growing a Rule of Life.” As I worked on the exercises, I realized that all these years I was feeling like a work horse and not a person – and I truly FELT how painful that was!  I found myself crying for weeks with sadness that it was going to be like this for the rest of my life. That realization was a gift, because it put me in touch with a deep desire: to feel like a person, not a work horse. Writing a Rule of Life and identifying this deep sadness gave me clarity. But more importantly, it gave this senior citizen the courage to at least try to find a way out.

 I ended up applying for and immediately getting a new job – against all the odds – and it has transformed my life. I’m still a nurse, but in a very different role, and it suits me beautifully. I’m being used – my skills, my skillset.  All my gifts are now making a difference in other people’s lives. I feel like a human being. I can even take a breath and remember that God loves me and cares about me, which I almost couldn’t do before.

Sometimes I wonder, “Did God really help me get a job?” I don’t know.  But what I do know is that God is good.  I had an extreme spiritual need and by writing a rule of life, I was graced with an awareness of that need and the courage to make a change.

To learn more about keeping a Rule of Life – and to draft your own Rule – explore SSJE’s six-week series, Growing a Rule of Life.