Thankful to pay it forward

Discuss bodily functions...

This morning, as I drove my daughter to school, she told me she felt like she was overflowing with gratitude, and just wanted to keep telling me thank you. I asked her what she wanted to thank me for, and she paused and said, "you just do so much for me." Wow. Big mama moment. Later on the tone of the conversation changed when she blurted with exasperation, "What did you expect? My mom is obsessed with gratitude!" As far as obsessions go, I think I'm doing pretty well. The Kardashians? Nope. Football season? Dear God no. Gratitude? Absolutely. Plus, the fruit of these efforts keep giving back in life, and in my family. For instance- this whole social work gig. I still can't believe it's been nearly 10 years since I started grad school. I'm pretty sure I live in a time machine set on "fast forward," so my daughter's childhood can whiz by as quickly as possible. That being said, I'm surprised I've been a social worker as long as I have. It seems as though it was just yesterday that I was swallowing my internal terror when talking about death with someone. Now I'm happy to talk about death, or discuss bodily functions while eating viscous foods. Not a blink. Social work has been quite a gift to me, and I have been utterly honored to contribute to that path for others. Today I am thankful to pay it forward.

Jolt of good juju...

Social workers have a sixth sense. We can literally spot a social worker "vibing" on site. Some of these vibrational wonders are already social workers, while others just need to take the time do the legwork (school) because they already bleed our blood. Cut from the same cloth and all that. Well, I've often jumped at the opportunity to have my brain picked, or provide mentorship to other future social workers. I get a bit of a tingly jolt of good juju when this door is opened. Last weekend, I was given the honor of being interviewed by a social work student that I nudged down this road over a year and a half ago. She and I had crossed paths in the medical world, and when we met- I was certain she had to have her bachelors in social work. As our acquaintance grew, and I learned more and more about her, it become nearly absurd to me that she wasn't one of us (the collective us). I finally just told her. You have a social work heart. Your entire life has been sprinkled with social work roles. DO THIS!!! I mean come on. Some people were born to sing (Josh Groban), some were born to inspire change (Bernie Sanders), and others are born social workers- like this gal. Why try to fight it?

Those are some big britches to fill...

Well she did it, and here I was being interviewed as a "hero" of hers. What? Huh? I didn't even know how to respond, other than to humbly thank her. Wow. Those are some big britches to fill. She had her questions itemized on a legal tablet, and asked what brought me down this path to social work, how on earth I did this as a single mother, what my biggest challenges were etc... Life is so funny. When you're IN it, it doesn't feel like you're doing anything particularly special. But as I'm telling this story, I'm thinking wow. I guess that was kind of hard. Wow, maybe that wasn't an average human experience. But here's the thing. I've never met a social worker that hasn't had a colorful patchwork of challenges. That's what gives us understanding and empathy. A belief in resilience! This student is no different. She's got a history that would humble Gandhi. For real. That's how much love and positive energy she emits into the universe. I could have talked to her for hours longer. The fire inside a social worker in the making is nothing short of inspiring. 

What inspiration can you evoke in others?

This amazing human...

I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to pay it forward with my experience in social work. It's contributing to the birth of little healers that put out their love into the world, resulting in countless ripples of support and advocacy. If that wasn't enough, this student tells me I'm impacting people on a large scale with Audrey's Peace of Mind.  That I'm planting seeds of wellness in people. Wowza. That's the goal! I mean check it out. This amazing human sitting across from me, drinking my very favorite coffee drink, with a surprisingly genuine smile for being in the midst of her second year of grad school, has been impacted by a seed I planted- as have other social workers in the past, and more in the future. Think- how have you impacted someone for the better in the world? What inspiration do you evoke in others? There is literally nothing more humbling and beautiful than knowing the world is a better place because you payed it forward. Even a simple gesture can create a ripple. What can you do to improve someone's world? What are you grateful for? Happy Gratitude Tuesday.

AM