There are times when we look at our lives and we ask ourselves “What happened to me? Where did I miss it?”
You look at your friends and it feels as if they are way ahead of you. It seems as if the choices you thought were good at one time have ended up just holding you back. Maybe you decided to get married while your friends went on to higher education and now have great jobs while ‘all’ you have to show for is a family, albeit a loving one.
Actually, that is how I am feeling today, but for me it is not related to marriage. It is related to my choice, when I was younger, of deciding to do community work in my spare time. I decided to start visiting the prisons when I was in my early 20s and I did this for close to 15 years. It was almost like another job because I was really into it and dedicated my time to it. If there is one thing I am known for back home, it is the Prison Ministry.
However, of late I have been wondering whether I ‘wasted’ my time by visiting prisons and inmates’ families for such a long time when I could have instead been going to school and been more ambitious at work. I also helped quite a lot of people financially and I wonder if that money could not instead have been spent on my own investments. I visited a lot of people as well who were ill or bereaved. I feel I could have instead spent that time studying. I sometimes just wonder whether I did not just waste my time helping others and going out of my way to do so.
I don’t know, I just feel like I wasted my time. I know there are many positive outcomes from my time working with prisoners but I just feel like it was not worth it at the end. For example, I started a Prisons Ministry at one Church and it is flourishing so much (even after I left) that they even provide ARVs to prisoners. I know this has helped save people’s lives but, you know, I just wonder whether it has been worth it for me.
The frustrating thing is that what I really want to do is community work. I want to go back to my home compound and continue a reading program I started at the local community school. I want the children to be exposed to a reading culture so that they can dream bigger. My desire is to have one afternoon every week where children do nothing but read but this will need me to cough up some more money. One day in the future, I want to start a program for women in the same compound so that they can have access to micro loans and be empowered economically. I have noticed that in my home town families do better when the mother, not the father, has more money. Mothers tend to care more for the well being of the family more than the men. The big buts again are that I will need to cough up more money and spend more time on other people not myself. I could invest the money or go back to school. I could also spend that time studying, with friends or doing my own hobbies.
I am torn between doing that which gives me pleasure and fulfillment (aka community work) and my desire to use my resources to advance my own wellbeing. What can mortal woman do in such a situation?