Looking back, I see my employment record as one that mirrored my inward views of myself and my abilities. I was uncertain about my creative capacities but longed to have opportunities to move forward and tackle projects that would enable me to grow as a writer.
But in one particular job, the writers were all at one end of the room, and I was at the other, like living on the wrong side of town. The writers had their own supervisor, and my area, records management, had its own supervisor.
While I would occasionally apply for positions on the other side of the room, as soon as I perceived that my supervisor wouldn't consider me for anything on the creative end, I would withdraw my application. I was reluctant to take professional risks. I allowed my supervisor's perception of me to define my self-worth. This became a barrier, not only to my professional advancement but to my own personal goals.
I found encouragement and solace in my relationship with someone whom I'd known since I was a little girl. She was like a grandmother to me. Even as a little girl I called her by her first name, Dassah.
I could always count on a pep talk from Dassah; there seemed to be no limit to her ability to see beyond my current situation and voice a conviction that I was worthy of nothing but the best. After speaking with her, I felt as though I'd received a wonderful hug, right through the phone.
She didn't have any children of her own, and several people, including me, were fortunate enough to be considered a part of her "family." Among us, we would refer to Dassah's usual response to a small child's extravagance, such as wanting more than one scoop on her ice cream cone: Drawing herself up, she would say in her motherly, deep-toned voice, "And she shall have it." It was like hearing royalty stating an edict, silencing the more practical parental opinion.
"And she shall have it" became sort of an inside joke, because it so perfectly described how Dassah treated us all as worthy of all good, even extra ice cream. Yes, this was a Dassah day, a Dassah moment.
I knew Dassah prayed to God every day to reflect His love. She was more than a cheerleader. Her convictions came from her prayers, and, as a spiritual healer, she dedicated her life to helping others remember that no one was left out or limited in his or her experiences. In Dassah's eyes, we were wonderful, and we knew she grounded that picture on spiritual truth, not just on prejudicial preference because we were special to her.
After Dassah died, I realized she had left an invaluable inheritance to everyone who knew her. Her legacy was a heightened ability to see ourselves as God saw us. It wasn't supervisors or even Dassah who would help me overcome my doubts and fears. It was an understanding that God made me what I am, so my creative abilities could not be judged from the standpoint of another's opinion.
Like the best father or mother you can think of, God knows His children as capable of expressing only the attributes we have received from Him. We find our worth as we turn to Him for our concept of it.
In addition to the Bible, Dassah studied a book by Mary Baker Eddy called "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." In it Mrs. Eddy stated, "God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis" (pg. 258).
My desire to expand my personal and professional horizons became anchored in my feeling close to God. Seeing myself as His expression with a "boundless basis" freed me to expect the best and not accept less. Within a year of this newfound freedom I was working full time in the ministry of spiritual healing.
I realize now that every moment of my former employment was a preparatory time that blessed my new efforts, so I could be grateful for each step of my professional journey.
Whenever I wonder about the outcome of anyone's effort to live professional and personal lives filled with limitless joy and possibilities, I hear Dassah's voice, "And she shall have it."