Thank God for the Trees.

I think it's safe to say that we're all familiar with feeling stuck. Whether in our jobs, or within our homes, we all know what it feels like to feel as if we are not growing. Things jump on our plates, and suddenly we find ourselves busy with things that weren't a part of our list. 

Have you felt this way? I know I've felt this way many times.

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I make plans for what my day will look like, or a list of all the things I want to accomplish this week. By the end of the day [or week], I am disappointed because my plans didn't have much follow through. Maybe someone called and needed my help with something, so I dropped my list in order to fulfill that need. Or, maybe my AC broke, so everything I was going to do was put on the back-burner so I could deal with that. Sometimes, without some unforeseen need arising, we just need a break. Sometimes, I am so busy going through my list that I forget to just take a moment to breathe... and maybe even enjoy the "stuck" feeling. 

I make plans for what my day will look like, or a list of all the things I want to accomplish this week. By the end of the day [or week], I am disappointed because my plans didn't have much follow through. Maybe someone called and needed my help with something, so I dropped my list in order to fulfill that need. Or, maybe my AC broke, so everything I was going to do was put on the back-burner so I could deal with that. Sometimes, without some unforeseen need arising, we just need a break. Sometimes, I am so busy going through my list that I forget to just take a moment to breathe... and maybe even enjoy the "stuck" feeling. 

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Winter is usually a pretty slow season around Compassion Cards. With the hustle + bustle of the holidays, followed by everyone going back to school, snow cyclones, and a litany of other things, we tend to keep our commitments light around this time of year. Sometimes, winter is a pretty "stuck" season for us. When there's not much going on around here, it's easy for me to start hearing that voice telling me that what we're doing doesn't matter, or the fact that we take a two month break means that we're failing to execute the mission of our organization. Winter stinks, y'all.

I've been feeling this weird sense of failure, on my part, lately. A sense that I could be doing more or better for Compassion Cards, and that I should be giving it more. Sometimes I don't have more to give, and other times I have a lot more to give. Sometimes I mix up my personal growth with the growth of Compassion Cards, and that makes my sense of failure even harder to bear

Last week, I was corresponding with a colleague of ours about an organization that we used to send cards to.  As we were talking, I instantly started hearing that voice telling me "Jordie... you're really not doing as well as you could be. There's no reason we should've taken a year off from this partnership. Think of all the people you didn't encourage because you didn't make time for this project." BOY. Sometimes that voice is real jerk. Although, in my head and my heart, I know that I gave my very best to all the work we did in 2017, that voice did a dang good job of convincing me that my best wasn't good enough. 

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Our conversation ended well, with their president contacting the rest of the staff to let them know to contact us if they wanted [or were able] to have cards distributed to the people they work with. I left the office that day, hopeful of what might come but, still hearing the voice telling me that I had really not done enough. 

This morning, I came into the office.
I routinely opened all my tabs and began going through my routine of checking emails. Starting in junk + promo folders to do all the deletions, and then moving onto the inbox. When I got to my inbox, I had a bunch of emails waiting for me. They were all from the staff of the organization I had talked with the week before, and within three minutes, I had over 2,550 people to write cards for. It brought me so much joy, and pretty instantly shut off that negative voice. Almost immediately I started thinking about how stuck I'd felt, how growth was lacking, and how, in an instant, that feeling was gone. 

For some reason, I started thinking of trees. Trees are majestic and breezy; they tower over us, but they haven't always been so magnificent. Once upon a time, our trees were little seeds; then sprouts, stalks, and so on. Growing into a tree is a lot of work, I'd imagine. It can take anywhere from 10 years on for an oak tree to get to its tallest. These beautiful ornaments of the earth take so much time, work, and cultivation to grow. We are very much the same. Good things don't always happen overnight. Success takes time. If I really think about it, I know that Compassion Cards couldn't even exist apart from trees, and the time it takes them to mature. Without them, we'd have no paper and no cards and no people would feel loved or validated by way of what we do at Compassion Cards. 

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When I saw the numbers this morning, my heart just felt warm. The wintery season of stuck-ness is over for now, and we have lots of work to dive into. I just wanted to cry my happy tears! No matter how much good we've done in the past, or plan to do in the future, sometimes even I forget how truly powerful these little cards are.

I am grateful for the reminder that what we do here is important. I'm grateful for each of you who champion this race with us. Your support (and growth alongside us!) could never be repaid. Even in the winter, I am grateful that there is work on the horizon; important work that needs our attention. 

If you're in a place of stagnancy, please know that it will not last forever. Also, that voice telling you're no good? Throw it out the window. You ARE good enough, worthy enough, and magnificent enough to make your life count, and to get through the mud. If we assigned a personality to the trees, I am sure they'd feel the same way we do. But just like the trees are growing steadily, even when they don't appear to be, I promise you that you're growing, too. Growth isn't always seen or felt right away, but I believe it is always happening. 

Thank God for the trees.... 

Jordie DiFernando
Founder + CEO

 

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