The Kenwood Press
: 04/15/2013

The courage to start over

Donna Colfer

“Courage sometimes skips a generation.” I love that line from the movie The Help. The mother delivered this wisdom to her daughter, an activist against the poor treatment of colored maids in Mississippi in the 1950s. The daughter secretly interviewed all “the help” in her small town, listened to their stories of disrespect and prejudice, and divulged it all in a book written by “anonymous.” The mother recognized courage in her daughter that she didn’t possess in herself.

Change takes the courage to do something different than you’ve done before while standing in your truth. As big and scary as that may seem, emotionally speaking, it’s better than “dragging a dead horse.” I remember that advice being given to me by a good friend the night before I quit my last nine-to-five job. I had worked there for 11 years, was good friends with the owner, and was paid well, but no longer fulfilled in any way. It was time for me to go; I had stayed too long. Part of me didn’t want to leave – I was loyal, and the money and security were great – but part of me deeply longed for a much-needed change.

In hindsight, my exit was pivotal in leading me toward my career of helping people with money problems…which is what I thought I would have if I left my job: money problems. Instead, for the first time in my life I brought all my skills and talents to the table, feeding my spirit every day.

A few weeks ago, a young woman called me to assess her money type quiz from my website. Over the phone she sounded very together and grounded. When we met at my office she brought her two-year-old son with her. At first I was taken aback, since she hadn’t mentioned bringing him. The meeting required full attention and he’d already set the pace by jumping from couch to chair like a pinball and telling us he hated being there. Together we quickly decided it was best if we moved outside to the beautiful, grassy backyard. We slowly gravitated to the “medicine circle” in the garden where we stood for the next hour as we talked. She began explaining her situation in a mature and calm manner while gracefully preventing her son from ripping out the sprinkler system. Nothing seemed to faze her. Her story gradually spilled out in small, sweet sentences, but what I heard alarmed me. Then I realized that just behind her big, stoic eyes were tears she held back.

She had moved from another state a few months ago with her seven-year-old, a two-year-old, and a baby on the way! That’s when I noticed her “baby bump” showing through her top. She had left her abusive partner and was living temporarily with some family members. She had a part-time job which afforded her food, gas, and incidentals, but the job would be temporary when she gave birth in two months. Here she was, standing proud but humble in her truth in the middle of the “medicine circle” asking for guidance around her money situation.

I felt a profound sense of courage from her story. Her grace and resilience in staying present amidst adversity was such a gift. I gave her every resource and support group I knew: housing, medical assistance, childcare, and more. I extended an invitation to come back any time she needed. At the end of our meeting, I walked her to her car, filled with everything she owned. We hugged for a long time and I felt a deep connection with her. Even her energetic son was ready for a hug!

If courage has skipped a generation in your family, be the one to bring it back. Staying too long in a negative situation erodes your spirit and passion for life. Having the courage to stay true to yourself will change your life in more purposeful and prosperous ways.

What money topics interest you? Email me and let me know. I’ll do my best to address your topic here (no names!) and/or give you a resource that will help you.