“When it is darkest, [wo]men see the stars.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

My special star came into my life at its lowest point. I was newly separated from my husband, had three sons aged 9, 7, and 6, and could depend on income from a 15 hour per week job while I went to school fulltime. I had lost the ability to focus on the better times surely ahead and sunk further into the constant burdens of dealing with shattered expectations, the stresses of single-parenting, and the ever-worrisome problem of how to pay bills, and keep my children fed, healthy, and housed.

Because school was my salvation and safe haven, I could forget all my personal problems by excelling there. I did, and my performance was noticed by this very wise woman.

When I needed it most, she displayed her confidence in me by offering me full time job which I could work around my class schedule and parenting responsibilities. Once I was able to depend on a regular income, life became easier. I started to smile more often. One day this wise woman told me it was great to see me smile once in a while. I realized at that moment my life no longer seemed a bleak torturous road, but a pathway filled with goals and expectations and gifts of friendship and positive goals surrounding me. Getting through those bad times allowed me to face and overcome many challenges through the years. I'd never have learned that skill without the extended hand of this very wise woman.

Why was I so fortunate to have this star enter my life when I needed it most? Because this wise woman believed in my spirit, my strength and my ability to succeed. Her belief gave me the courage to trust in myself. During the time I worked for her, I learned so much about how to handle co-workers, superiors, subordinates, and the public. This knowledge has served me well ever since.

Because she believed in me. Like a star in the night heavens her faith in me lighted a path through my dark night of the spirit.

Thirty-nine years later, this wise woman has served as role model and mentor as teacher, boss, and friend. She displayed by example that reaching out a hand to help another in need can serve as the basis for a friendship that stands solid through the years. I have followed her example and done as she did whenever I could. In doing so I gave back the gift and sent it forward.

My world, and I hope the larger world we all share, is better with the passing on of this wisdom and help.

"Stars are like friends; there's always some around, you just need to find your favorite one."