A New Chapter for JOLT, Strong Wise Women and Me
I’m getting ready to launch the new look and feel for my work. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this for eleven years. Looking back, I’m not sure how this happened. I have always been under the impression that there has been a guiding divine light showing me the way. Gentle whispers in my ear, subtle nudges to speak to this person or that person. I believe that God gave me a way to survive the sudden and devastating loss of my son Stephen in 2009. Stephen was a gift and this continues to be my thanks for having such a beautiful soul in my life for 23 years. By far, the time has been kind. The work of JOLT has continued to grow, from its humble beginnings ( truly humble beginnings with only me in the group when I started!) Today, the group has over 130K members from over 45 different countries. They come with no other expectation than to find some comfort, to discover some light in their own darkness.
Strong Wise Women continues to grow, and I am writing again after a long break. But it has not been without its challenges. I correspond with many bereaved people, who have faced horrendous realities in their own life. I believe this is the purpose of my work, but sometimes it was too much to handle. I described it to my best friend as compassion fatigue. The true translation? I had not yet learned to balance the work with my own self care. Can’t cut wood without sharpening the saw right? At times, I felt that my work was just a drop in the bucket. What difference could this mom make in a world that has lost its way? How could my words combat the ever increasing negativity circling the globe? And then you add a pandemic, and a world divided in a way that seems impossible to fix. Do I even make a difference? What is the point?
This new chapter answers that question with a resounding and echoing yes. I may not be able to change everything happening right now, but I am a really good resource if you need help getting through a tough time, whether it be from the physical loss of a loved one, or the loss of employment, security etc. I don’t have a cure, or a vaccine, or a computer program that eliminates the disinformation that separates us. But I do have gratitude. And I can show you how gratitude is a building block in hard times.
Gratitude and resilience go together, intersecting at grief and pain.
I can show you the sunshine in the cloudiest of days. I can show you how to build a grateful life, even after tough times. I can show you all the breadcrumbs that life leaves you on your path from pain to purpose. I’m just one person. So are you. We’re in this together. Imagine what a ripple of kindness we could create if we all stood together in a space of love instead of fear. The new look and feel really captures that goal of growth and unity. The butterflies throughout the design serve as an affirmation for transformation. The apple blossoms and JOLT apple tell a story of growth and connectedness. It was important for me to communicate possibilities to each of you, especially at a time in your life where you may not be able to see them for yourself. I have said it a thousand times. Gratitude did not change the pain of my loss. But it did alleviate some of the suffering. It allowed me to find the present moment in each day. When I was looking around for my one little thing, I was not thinking of the regret or pain of the past, nor was I thinking about the fears of a future with Stephen. I was right here and….for this moment I was okay. I was a moment of reprieve from the pain.
But here’s the key thing I want you to understand. All those one little things, woven together; they served as a rope for me to hang onto….it tethered me to life, even when I felt my life was over. It allowed me to see that I still had a life to live, albeit different than I had imagined. It allowed me to see there was still goodness around me. Years later, I give thanks every day for remaining tethered, and that gentle whisper from God. Not only did it save me, it allowed me to be a good mom to my remaining son, and now I have the privilege of connecting with people like you, who are looking for a way through. My purpose is to explain the tether of gratitude to women just like you. My purpose is to share the measure of love I have for Stephen with whomever needs it. My purpose is to tell you to hang on. Keep looking for those one little things. They are all around you.