Finding My Way

I think I was inspired by watching “Beyond Rangoon.” After the movie, I tidied up the kitchen and went out to have a smoke. I prayed for God to use me for some meaningful purpose. I asked to be “used up.” The movie made me want to be like that old man. 

I know my happiness arises out of service. And I’ve been searching for a way to be of service. I’ve been frustrated these last 9 years. 

At first I was frustrated because I had to stop working. I loved my work. It’s amazing really how DOC let me be me. Well, after I got to Headquarters. Before that only sporadically. I had Supervisors who got me, and those were good years. But there were, frankly, more of the other kind. But I loved my work. It was the fulfillment of doing meaningful service. I did not want to stop. 

But I did stop whether I wanted to or not. And afterwards I sank into a deep depression. My cousin Donna laughed and said, “Rose you need to figure out that this job is not what punches your ticket in life.” Those words told me which way to go to get well. The transition through and finally out of the “I have become useless” funk. 

Frankly, I was irritated with myself the whole time. Before my post-polio disability took me out of the game, I was having the time of my life. I had rewritten The Role of the Correctional Worker and was teaching it and (my jewel), Managing Your Filters. It was magical.

At the same time my nervous system was burning up. With my nervous system that is not a good idea. Polio took up to 95% of my motor nerves and fried and scarred the nerve sheathing in my brain stem. Little by little I kept adding more braces, and a cane, and a hinged orthotic on one leg. The doc thought I needed a scooter to get around. 

The idea of being in a chair sent me into a panic. I had been in a wheelchair when I was five. At the time, it was spectacular to be out of bed. But now? No thanks! 

It gave me night terrors and panic attacks. “No no no!,” said the chatterbox in my head. Very shortly thereafter, my body came crashing down and the doctor ordered me to stop working altogether.

She said it had become an ethical dilemma for her to keep helping me continue to hurt myself. That was one of not so many times in my life that I have yielded to a human higher authority. 

I’d been taking Methylphenidate every morning to wake up (polio fried the nerves in my brain stem and I don’t get the wake up call others get. There are several shorts in my wiring.) Then more meth at lunchtime to keep me awake. And pain pills, lots and lots of pain pills. Just to keep going, and there came a point along this insane trajectory where my body just couldn’t. I was unable to put in a full week. 

I had believed I was enlightened enough to handle losing my work, but I didn’t handle it well at all. When I became suicidal, Richard, Kate and Dick Silk got me admitted to the Psych Ward at Sacred Heart. I had hit bottom. 

A few weeks later I was looking for a book to help me deal with this difficult transition. I was leaning on the shelf behind me, about 3′ from the stacks I was looking through, when a book flew out of the stacks and fell at my feet. 

I looked at it for a bit before picking it up. But I had to pick it up. I opened it to a middle page and began reading. 

It spoke directly to me in words that seemed to “untie” me. It was the perfect book to help me release the past and come into the present, where I soon found myself intact. I had been fractured, and that book, The Power Of Now, put me back together again.

In time my body recovered. I started looking for a new endeavor to satisfy my desire to be of service. 

My initial idea was to join the Peace & Justice Action League in Spokane. But time and again I seemed to offend, and the longer I was a Reiki Master the more difficult it was to see the two sides as different. A medic pays no attention to what uniform a soldier is wearing. A medic renders aid. I have become a medic rather than a soldier. Reiki has that effect. I no longer have the desire to be in opposition to anyone or anything. I just want to help.

Which is not to say I won’t show up for a demonstration. I like a good rally as much as the next gal.

But again the frustration of not finding a fit for me to live a purpose-driven life, even in my reduced physical condition at that time. 

Next I tried selling jewelry on eBay. I like to wrap crystals and stones. Unfortunately I spent 4 times as much as I sold and discovered I have a shopping addiction! Onward.

Most recently I applied to volunteer with No One Dies Alone. I got a rejection letter. They have enough volunteers right now. Ugh! 

Good thing I got over the whole “useless” thing. But it has been frustrating. My Reiki classes and clinics are wonderful. But not intellectually challenging. It’s not really enough. My brain needs something to work on, a project.

So I prayed for God to use me. Then I finished my cigarette and came inside. 

A little Facebook time, look at all the family posts and pictures, catch up you know? Saw Renel’s smiling face and sent him a PM. 

He mentions he is looking for a grant writer to help him fund construction of a school in rural Haiti. Ever feel like Paul on the road to Damascus? 


It just so happens I got my first job in corrections from a Judge for whom I wrote a grant proposal. Grant writing was how I got into government. It’s something I know how to do. It’s something I’ve been successful at.

My prayer had been answered in minutes, not years. After saying goodnight to Renel, I thanked God and the Angels. And then I called my sweetheart with my news: Renel and I are building a school in Haiti.

Now that’s worth getting out of bed for!