Was Mother Teresa responsible for my transformation in finding Jesus?
In the summer of 1997 I applied for an accounting position in the bank that I had been employed with for the last eight years. I had gone from part-time teller in a branch to lead teller and substitute administrative assistant as well as training all the new tellers in our area. I had been trained in Management as well because the bank liked to cover their bases and save money as well. By training some of us in other areas, we were able to cover for people in higher positions without the bank having to give us that title or the raise that was supposed to go with it.
As soon as I started in the accounting department I was hired in, I realized it was a BIG mistake. My manager was a crazy person and she ran the department like a sweat shop. I use this term because one of her bosses described it using those words on my final day and said he did not blame me for moving on, after being there for two years. I guarantee I would not have stayed there that long and gotten the experience needed for my next job if I had not received “the poem.”
I told my mother and sister what a nightmare the place was at the beginning. There were a number of young women that collapsed at work from exhaustion as well as one woman in the next department, a little older than myself, that died of a heart attack on the job. The next day there was a flower at her empty desk. Some tribute to a life taken from pushing people past their endurance. It was just too disturbing for me. There was absolutely no excuse to drive people at this pace to where they become physically ill. There were a lot of call offs as well as people quitting. This explains why there was always an opening there.
My sister called me one day to say that she was at our mothers when a magazine my grandmother used to subscribe to arrived at the house and they were discussing how strange that they would send a copy of this magazine to my grandmother since she had passed away many years before. She called to say that she thought she was supposed to see it because she thought she was supposed to show me a poem in it called “Mother Teresa’s Prayer.” She just said I think I’m supposed to give you this poem so she sent it to me in the mail and I put it up in my cubicle. She was right, I was supposed to see it because it stopped me from getting upset or walking out many times. It was a reminder of how even when things suck, you need to suck it up and “do it anyway.”
My sister and I lived with our great-aunt Ruth and grandmother when we were young. My sister being two years younger does not remember as many things as I did from our Christian aunt’s influence. Our parents are both unbelievers who scoff at the idea of there being a God. They were immature, abusive and neglectful parents that should never have had children but did. Both of them being brain-damaged did not help anything either. They both “managed” and I’m sure our lives could have been worse, but we were always beaten down and laughed at about everything. There was never any mercy or someone saying “oh, well, kids will be kids.” The minute you made one mistake, they jumped on you with both feet and you always knew how much you were despised. Our other relatives were not like this.
Every one of my siblings were substance abusers and severe overeaters trying to fill the void of not being loved as a child. I was the oldest and I do believe that my aunt’s love sustained me because someone loved me and I loved her, even though she went home to be with the Lord when I was seven. I drank once in a while when I was younger and married but stopped after I was divorced and taking care of two children and working. I imagine I was not prone to alcoholism that ran in my family or I just thought more of myself. I always knew I was special and talented and didn’t care what people said about me. Well maybe a little. (felt I needed to lay down some background to my earlier life to make my point.)
After I left the sweat shop I took “Mother Teresa’s Prayer” with me to my next two jobs before early retirement was sort of forced on me. Not being Catholic or even raised in a Christian home, I always knew who Jesus was but was curious about Mother Teresa so I bought a book I came across “Mother Teresa in my Own Words” and found it fascinating. I realized I could never do what she did. I know we are not all cut out for the same thing. Mother Teresa struggled all the time doing the right thing. She did not do it to “live her dream” but to live God’s. This is the way we are all supposed to live and I know this now.
I was never into the Bible. I went to church now and again and was once a regular member of a church with my husband and children for a number of years. After I was divorced, I could never really make myself go back to them. I didn’t even like reading the Bible, especially the Old Testament. I am still not a religious person, but I do love Jesus and everything He did for anyone who believes. I don’t understand those that refuse to see the reality in all that he told us and did for others. It’s very simple and it should be quite natural to have a heart for God, even the laziest of us. I believe it’s much harder to do the wrong thing, takes more energy than to just do what is right.
Maybe it’s just a “coincidence” that a magazine arrived addressed to my grandmother, who had lived with my mother, considering she had passed over 10 years earlier and that my sister said she was supposed to give that poem to me but after I read her book and let the words of this poem get down deep inside of me, I started reading the New testament and really started getting strong into the word. It turned my life around completely in everything that I did. When you are living a sloppy and undisciplined life and decide to change, watch who your friends still are. Sometimes you will stop talking, sometimes it’s them who will not like the change in you.
I have done some backsliding after my personal crisis involving a non-believing family member a number of years ago that still has not completely played out but that is another story too long to mention at this time. I don’t worry, I still have my faith and know that God is not done with me yet!
For those of you not familiar with it, here is a copy of “Do It Anyway.” I have also heard it called “Anyway” and “Mother Teresa’s Prayer.” It is supposedly authored by Kent M Keith but she kept it on her wall and apparently added the last line.
Do It Anyway
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.