Lost her job, then a new calling

(Photo of Winsome Myers taken by Suzette Standring)

After almost 16 years working for a hospital, Winsome Myers lost her job.  So close to retirement at age 60, financial fears loomed before her.  “If it wasn’t for my faith, I’d be a mess.  I’d be crying all the time,” she said.  Instead, faith gave her both courage and a new calling.

Winsome is moving to Jamaica to help homeless and orphaned children.

She announced this to friends at my home in Milton amid arched eyebrows, whiplash doubletakes, and questions. “Do you already have a place to live?” (No.)  “When would you leave?” (August.)  “But you hate the heat and humidity!” (I do so pray for me.)

Winsome believes God makes the impossible possible. She just needs to follow through,  “I don’t want any regrets for not doing things I’ve always wanted to do.”

Jamaica is Winsome’s native land.   She came to the U.S. in 1989, worked as a nanny, then as a nurse’s assistant. Her 28 years in America were not without struggles.  She battles depression, was hospitalized for stress, and let go of a loveless marriage.  On the plus side, she is a pillar within a large and loving family, a homeowner, and she became a U.S. citizen. God is her best friend, “I get on my knees and cry out to the Lord, and he hears me.”

Her advice is to manage panic through prayer.  You talk to God, he talks to you. Pipe down, calm down, and listen. “I talk to him every day about everything, all the big things, all the little things.”

Take, for instance, her job loss.  That was quite the conversation.  Initially, who wouldn’t be overwhelmed at the specter of unpaid bils and possible homelessness?  Hit the anxiety pedal and zoom from zero to ninety in nanoseconds, and Winsome did at first.  “I’m a natural born worrier.”

But then she felt God laid out the big picture in her mind.  Look, you gave that job your all for years, but you were unhappy.  I took that job from you.  Then you pursued a different position, but you hated it, so I ended that ordeal.  Do you really want to continue working there?  Why don’t you do something you love, something full of purpose?

And that’s when it came to her.  Work with children.  Go back home.

“I made my decision right then and I felt such a great peace.”

Our society tends to examine credentials.  Are we qualified?  Are we approved by a gatekeeper? Are we smart enough?

Winsome says God judges the heart. Looking back, every skill and each experience has led to a readiness to accept this challenge.  She’s transferred home ownership to her daughter. Her U.S. passport is renewed. She will contact a foster home for homeless children in Kingston, and most importantly, she will join a sister Christian church there.

Three decades of life’s lessons in the U.S are packed and ready.  “I came here with nothing, I’m leaving with nothing, but I have learned so much that I can share.”

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Suzette Standring

SUZETTE MARTINEZ STANDRING is a nationally syndicated columnist with GateHouse Media. Her two award winning books, The Art of Opinion Writing: Insider Secrets from Top Op-Ed Columnists (2014) and The Art of Column Writing (2008) are used in journalism courses such as Johns Hopkins University. Suzette is a past president of The National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the host of It’s All Write With Suzette, a cable TV show about writing. Visit www.readsuzette.com or email suzmar@comcast.net
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