By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
On Wednesday mornings, I have the great privilege of gathering with a group of women from all over America via Zoom and learn life skills from every possible arena, have wonderful fellowship, encourage and challenge each other, and give and absorb as much as I can. Quite frankly, seeing as Wednesday is often referred to as “Hump Day,” meaning it’s all downhill from here to get to Friday and the weekend, I feel like I am just getting started, and no way am I over the hump. Sometimes I feel like I am crawling to get there, but I have found over the years that it is worth every bit of time and money that I have invested to be a part of this group.
The women range from being counselors, foster moms, budding authors, coaches, healthcare professionals, entrepreneurs, and more, and as I watch them grapple with life and move forward courageously, my desire is that I’ll get to hang with these gals until I draw my last breath.
What makes this group so special to me is that everyone is a supporter of an organization called Pure Hope Foundation, which restores women who have been trafficked, while strengthening families. Several of us are ambassadors for Pure Hope, and I have written both the organization and the ranch where the young women are restored several times over the years. Their passion to see women recover and thrive after being subjected to the unthinkable warms and strengthens me, and I don’t know what I would do without them.
In this era of instant everything, there is one thing that cannot be rushed, and that is building relationships, and “staying sharp.” I noticed that someone who is normally beaming with inner and outer beauty today looked a bit down, so I texted her. Come to find out, she had gone on a memorable vacation to Aruba, and when she came home, she learned that a 13-year-old neighbor had taken his life. She was understandably devastated.
How do you deal with something like that? If you are a person of faith, there is certainly the comfort of the Holy Spirit, scriptures, and community. And, there are things you can do in the realm of self-care that are not selfish at all. They simply make getting through and staying sharp much more possible. Things like going outside at night time and looking up at the stars. What a reminder of how small we are and how great Creation is. Music and movement. Eating whole food. Reaching out to others, both when you are in need, or when they are. Smiling at strangers, reading good books, seeing good movies, breathing, taking cold plunges, and searching for things about which to be grateful, and then writing them down.
Abraham Lincoln once made the comment, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first 4 hours sharpening the ax.” Stephen Covey called it “sharpening your saw,” and it was the seventh habit about which he taught extensively. We are alive in highly unstable times, and I know that for me, that is all the more reason to stay sharp. I want to get the job done until my part is done. How about you?