Perspectives: Reflecting on a Snowy Commute

Laurie Peterson, Work Options for Women’s development director, provides some insight in today’s post.

How many of us became frustrated with the commute yesterday?  Maybe spewed profanity, signaled a hand, or became increasingly upset with a situation that was completely out of our control?

It made me think about the upcoming season — grumpy people, delayed flights, holiday traffic, too many “to-dos” with not enough time…a holly, jolly time of the year that becomes more stressful than enjoyable.  When did we become so surly, cynical, and negative?  When did we speed up on the highway to block someone from merging?  When did we become so hurried that 16 items in the express line is enough to put us in a bad mood for the rest of the day?  When did we forget to be truly thankful for what we have?

Here is some perspective from a student from the Work Options for Women program:

After serving in two Gulf Wars, I found myself back in Colorado — homeless and unemployed.  Reaching out to Veterans Affairs, I learned that they would not help me until I got a job — I couldn’t get a job if I didn’t have housing.  I started to drink.  My father was a drunk, and it seemed like the logical choice at a low time in my life.  The drinking helped me not have to think of my problems…but things just got worse.  My significant other lost a son due to a gang fight here in Denver.  We adopted two grandkids whose parents were both in jail.  Then, my significant other was involved in a horrific car accident becoming an amputee.

A caseworker referred me to the Work Options for Women culinary training program.  I had cooked some in the Navy, so this seemed like a good option for me.  I started the program and worked hard.  I learned everything I could.  After my sixteen-week training program, I found a job, a job that I still have today.  After years of unemployment and homelessness, Work Options for Women gave me the support I needed at a very tough time in my life.  Today, I am happy, confident, and working hard to become promoted in the kitchen.  Thank you for helping me get on the right path — I am so thankful for your program and the opportunity to get back on my feet.

This student is one of the most positive people I have ever met; not once did she complain or blame others for her situation. She felt that the challenges she had been dealt only had made her a stronger person.

“Gratitude is a constant attitude of thankfulness and appreciation for life as it unfolds.  Living in the moment, we are open to the abundance around us and within us.  We express appreciation freely.  We contemplate the richness of our life.  In life’s trials, we seek to understand, to accept, to learn.  Gratitude is a continual celebration of life.”
(Author Unknown)

So next time you are stuck in traffic, waiting in line, or frustrating with life, think about what you are thankful for.