How these words continue to resonate with me throughout the years
“To whom much is given, much is expected” By Jenn Castell, Influencers of Ohio, Jan 21, 2018
I first heard this in high school: in a plaid skirt and Sperry’s, with my MacBook on my desk that my Vera Bradley bag rested on. It didn’t fully set in at the that time, but over the years it resonates with me more and more. In the hallways of the private all-girls school I attended I didn’t realize what that quote meant for me, personally. I was definitely very privileged and my family was able to comfortably provide for my brother and me. I was receiving an amazing education, played for one of the most competitive tennis programs around, and was active in my church’s youth group. I didn’t process just how much was given to me, but my school tried to remind me often.
I think they realized how some of us, high school girls, got completely absorbed in our designer worlds. Our head of school was trying to break our molds that we got put into by being a part of that community. “To whom much is given, much is expected.” We were given incredible opportunities at our school to grow and immerse ourselves in the community we lived in and in the communities abroad traveling. We were then expected to take full advantage of all of those opportunities, because why waste them? Why waste the invaluable lessons we could receive from our teachers by having such small class sizes, or waste the opportunity to go on service trips abroad? Why waste opportunities practically placed in our laps. We were expected to rise and thrive there, and most of us did.
Flash forward to the small country of Swaziland in 2013. I was in a small village, holding a half dressed, hungry, tired, incredibly sweet baby boy. “To whom much is given, much is expected” I was given incredible blessings in life, and presented an opportunity to travel and do mission work with my aunt and her church. I was given the funds through tireless fundraising and much generosity. I was given so much, that I poured all I had into that small village. I left a piece of my heart there, with those people, with that boy. I didn’t have much when I went, but I had an able working body and a huge heart. I helped them in any way I could, preparing food for the children, teaching in their preschools, and worshiping in their churches with them. I didn’t speak their language, but love has no language, and lasts forever. When I returned home, I signed up to sponsor one of the little boys I met, and gave a monthly donation that provided him the opportunity to go to school and have meals each month.
Present day, I am working full time with adults with developmental disabilities. “To whom much is given, much is expected” I have never loved any other job as much as I love this one. I see myself in this field a very long time. It’s not always easy, there can be unpredictability, but it’s incredibly rewarding. I was given a healthy working body, a good understanding of different forms of communication and an empathetic ear. If I was given all this, how could I not do my job? I have run into people and share with them what I do and am surprised when people tell me they couldn’t necessarily do my job. To me, it’s a no-brainer. I don’t mind assisting with hygiene routines daily, helping with laundry, helping execute their programs or anything that my job entails. I had gone to the doctors last week and she asked what I do, so I told her where I work and she just said “Wow, thank you for doing that, that takes a special person” and it really made me stop because to me it’s not even an option of if I do what I do, it’s an absolute privilege. I feel lucky to be able to spend 40 hours a week with them.
I was given so much, it’s not just an obligation or expectation for me give back, it’s a lifestyle. I choose every day to remind myself of the vast number of blessings I have, and that will always keep me happy and on track. Life gets really hard sometimes, situations come up and there will be times of feeling helpless. But I wouldn’t change a single thing about my life right now. I feel like I have so much more to give. I have so many more expectations for myself, and I’m blessed to be in a position to reach and achieve those goals. I will forever let those words I heard in the hallways of my high school ring throughout my life.