I only had my Giving Key for a week. I did not think I would give it away so fast, but my heart spoke so loud that I lost all focus and would not be able to think straight until I paid it forward.
I have been at my current job for only 6 months and it was a challenge for me. I went from working at a daycare for 7 years to now doing intake at a children's mental health clinic. Not only was it a huge learning curve for me, but I heard sad stories on a daily basis. I was fortunate enough to have a great supervisor to teach me new things and look at things at a different perspective. Although my job was stressful, I loved the choice I made. My coworkers did not feel the positive way I felt though. They brought a lot of negative energy to the office and would bad mouth not only my supervisor, but the director of the mental health clinic as well. I am not going to lie, it is hard to stay positive when the people around you are so negative.
I did not know my director well, only what my co workers told me. So pretty much nothing nice was said about her, and from what I saw from afar, she intimidated me. My supervisor always made feel comfortable though, I felt secure under her care.
About 5 months into my job, I finally felt that I could handle my position confidently, that was until my supervisor told me she got a promotion and was leaving. I was crushed. My mentor and one of the only people at my job who could bring me back to solid ground when things were shaky was leaving me. Not only was she leaving me, but I now had a new boss, and it was my director. So many emotions went through me and I did not think I was going to succeed with out my old supervisor.
When my supervisor left, my coworkers were right, my new boss was not as nice or compassionate as my old supervisor. I still gave her the benefit of the doubt. She doubled my work and was never available to answer any of my questions. I haven't been at my job for that long, and I still needed some guidance. My new supervisor would come and go throughout the office without ever telling any of us that she was leaving.
I did not understand how our director could run our guidance clinic while never being there, but not be stressed about it. There would times when there were dilemmas so stressful that people would be running around the office like headless chickens, and my director would calmly handle it and never once would I see a look of worry on her. There would be rare occasions when I would meet with her to talk about how I was doing with my job, and I actually learned little things here and there about her. I started to admire how someone with such a stressful job be so calm and happy all the time.
One morning as I was making coffee in the break room, my director came in and I could barely recognize her. The red layered bob haircut she had was not there. Instead I saw her with little short brown fuzzy curls. I did not mean to look so shocked when I saw her, but I then smiled right away. This woman had enough strength to stop wearing her wigs to work and let us all know that she was in remission from breast cancer. It also made sense to me why she was never there. She was attending all of her doctors appointments.
As days went by her hair grew more and I admired her strength more. I also learned a little more about her from my coworkers. Not only is she a social worker, but she is also an attorney. This was her third time having cancer and her husband left her when she was diagnosed the second time. She works 7 days a week to keep our clinic operating and has two sons who are very successful living in Washington DC. I couldn't believe it. The coworkers who knew all this about her, STILL bad mouthed her. I never saw such a strong woman before that covered every ounce of sickness in her and never showed stress or anxiety. I have gained such admiration for this woman.
After learning so much about her, she concluded our staff meeting a few weeks ago that her cancer came back for the FOURTH time, and that she could no longer handle her position as director of our mental health clinic anymore after managing it for 20 years. Her last day at the clinic was a week from then. Every single one of us was in such shock. She had so many bumps throughout these 20 years, but it was now finally coming to an end because the cancer was defeating her. That week flew by and it was not enough time for us to actually grasp what was going on. In a such short amount of time, I went from being intimidated by this woman to admiring her for her amazing strength.
Her last day at the clinic, she was not around much, she hard some last minute meetings to attend and like usual, she was no where to be found. I was so busy running around the office picking up phones and attending to clients when all of a sudden I stopped dead in my tracks. I looked down at my necklace that said BELIEVE on it and I ran to my office and shut the door. I wrote a long letter to her saying how I felt she was the one who deserved this message. My heart wrote the letter. I do not even remember what else was said in it, but I folded it up and stuck the letter and key in an envelope and left it on her desk for when she returned to take the rest of her things. After that, I packed up my belongings and took the rest of the day off. I would worry about the upcoming challenges, such as meeting my NEW supervisor for tomorrow. As for the moment, I followed my heart. I went home, hugged my loved ones, and truly "believed" that she was going to be okay. It is amazing how someone can change how you think and feel in such a short amount of time, and a how much a little act of kindness can go a long way.