I recently started a GoFundMe campaign, which has helped me substantially. I have been able to keep things afloat for another few weeks and my appreciation of family and friends has grown more than I thought possible. I will always be indebted to the people who have helped me, either financially or with their words of encouragement and prayers. Yet, I am also struggling with feelings of guilt and inadequacy. In my mind, I should be completely independent at this point in my life and should be helping others who are less fortunate than I am. Therefore, I am very happy to receive financial gifts from my family and others, but also feel guilty that I am not in a position to help them instead. Since I was young, I have dreamed of being able to help others. This is one reason I strove to do so well with my years of education. When I was younger, I had wasted too many years living for myself and making mistakes that I wanted to become an educator to help and be a blessing to other people. I figured if I attained a certain level of education, I would never be in a position to ask others for help. Yet, this has not been the case. Thus, I feel as if I have failed and that I could have done more, but I also understand that failure is not a destination, but a temporary location on the road to something bigger. I am dealing with a battle of the psyche, where I vacillate between gratitude and optimism for the future with feelings of failure and insufficiency. What I have come to learn is that these are natural feelings, but they also stem from pride. When one thinks too highly of themselves, taking charity becomes more difficult because that person must admit that they are not good enough to solve their own problems. They must admit that they have a need for others when all they want is to be needed.
Ambition is ironic. Kept in check, it catapults people to their dreams, but unchecked it can become pride, which leads to a person being humbled by others. Feeling that I should be able to help others cannot be realized until I know what it requires to ask for help. Otherwise, I may feel that my charity elevates me above those who need my help. I think I may be starting to see God’s plan in this situation. I cannot reach out to those less fortunate until I am reminded that any of us could be in that situation at any given time. I hope that my struggles will someday help others to overcome their obstacles and that I can always help people with a humble and generous spirit.
On a somewhat lighter note, I have joked about everyone saying the same things to encourage me, but I must say that those little snippets of wisdom have shown me that people truly care. If it were not for the kind, encouraging statements from family, friends, and faculty, I would not have been able to navigate the rough waters of the past half year. Sometimes, the smallest gesture of kindness and encouragement can mean the world to someone who is struggling through life. You may not know what to say, but it is not about the words. Encouraging someone shows them that you care, and this can be an indispensable gift when someone is struggling with their confidence and outlook on their world.
When we become transparent to others, we see God and ourselves more clearly.
I recently completed my PhD in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) at the University of Wyoming. I have published multiple articles in peer reviewed journals and have a book chapter coming early next year. I aim to explore issues of privilege and equity of education, especially as they pertain to STEM education.