At times the right person must come along

Published 4:38 pm Saturday, July 13, 2013

Column: Live United, by Ann Austin

One of the things I love most about our community is how often I run into people that I know. It does take me a longer time to get through the grocery store some days, but the connections that are made are more meaningful than a few extra minutes spared to fold laundry.

Ann Austin

Ann Austin

Recently, on a walk with my dog Jack, I encountered a friend of mine I love dearly, and who has gone through some challenges in life — as most of us have. She was very happy and telling me about another friend of hers who was able to open her up to parts of life that she hadn’t experienced for a while.

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This made me so happy. I didn’t realize how much her situation had been weighing on my heart because, though I have been a good friend to her, I have not always been able to be there for her. And I’ve always known that I’m not able to fill all of the holes.

This is something I think we must all realize throughout our lives. We care so much about people and we want to help them, but sometimes it’s not up to us.

I’ve said for a while now that it is up to us to act when we are called to act. We each have a role to play in this life that is ours alone. If we don’t use our voice, we are keeping something from happening.

But the opposite is also true — we can’t make things happen. One good lesson I’ve learned in my job is that patience is key to any impactful change. No matter how much someone cares about a cause or another person, if the timing is off — if certain conditions have not been addressed yet, change cannot happen. We are not yet ready to heal.

It’s such a delicate balance, and it is part of what makes life beautiful. Because, when the metamorphosis does occur, it is all the more glorious!

There are so many times good ideas emerge and it would be wonderful if they could take hold and start producing fruit. But fruit cannot be produced without pollination. Better fruit is produced when there is cross-pollination.

That is exactly what we do when we talk to each other — ideas will be stagnant if they remain in our heads. If we share them with one person, that is a start, but it’s important to share with others and build the interest and ask meaningful questions and do research and continue to have discussions.

Sometimes we must wait for the right person to show up, or for someone to break through the fog in their own minds to recognize a possibility.

It is important to talk to each other and it is important to show up, and to be present in the moment and open to new concepts. We never know what may come of them. We could change the world!

And we will. One person at a time.

Live united!


Albert Lea resident Ann Austin is the executive director of the United Way of Freeborn County.