Our dear friend Oie Osterkamp is the director of the Ronald MacDonald House here in Durham, NC. Most of his life has been dedicated to helping other people. His writing is all about making the lives of others better, richer.
His first book is called Sharefish (the opposite of selfish.) He then went on to create Sharefish Int’l (http://www.sharefish.org) an organization dedicated to “bringing hope to the hopeless” in Honduras. I don’t know the exact number of people who interviewed for the directorship of the Ronald MacDonald House but I remember it was a very large number. My husband and I were with him right after he received the news of his appointment. Of course, he was ecstatic. He told us “I was born to do this.” What a gift, to be employed doing something you love.
At the time of this writing, Earline Middleton, Vice-President of Agency Services & Programs for the North Carolina Food Bank (http://www.foodbankcenc.org) has worked there for many years. I came to know her through the Young Women’s Christian Association. She and I sat on the board together many years ago. Then, my mom, Margaret Grolimund, became one of their dedicated volunteers when she moved here. One day, Earline shared that she had when she first took the job at the Food Bank she had no idea she’d be with them for so long. She said she was “lucky” she had taken a job and found a passion.
We’ve read about them, we’ve met them, perhaps we are them, one of those people who knew from an early age what they were destined for, what they were created to do. Patricia Sprinkle, prolific writer and teacher shared with our class that she picked up a career brochure one day when she was fourteen which defined “writer”. She finished reading it and thought, “Oh, that’s me. I’m a writer.” And, so she is. Her passion for writing is palpable. It truly is a gift, don’t you think? When someone is born with a talent that presents itself to them at any point in their lives, but especially at an early age.
I have always been fascinated by Dale Chihully, the famous glass blower. His works are stunning, massive and he has exhibits all over the world. He once created The Tower of David exhibit in a section of Jerusalem. It was one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever viewed although I had to imagine the full effect by relating it to the exhibit I actually viewed at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. I can’t imagine how he discovered that he was to be one of the best of such an unusual talent. I think if most people had been born with such a rare gift, it would go unfulfilled.
Have you ever heard an adult say “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up?” It seems to me, that’s most of the population but it’s never too late. When I facilitate Artist Way workshops, we use Julia Cameron’s process to discover what it is that brings us fulfillment and joy. What nurtured our creative spirit when we were children; what nurtures it now? What is it that we get lost in doing? I have watched many people come through the program with a sense of awe when they discover what they have set aside and almost lost in the name of surviving only to see their passion for their gifts is still there. It’s just been lying dormant waiting for a little sunshine to bring it forward.