Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is it in my DNA?

By Michala T.
I remember when I was younger to get to Bowling Green we had to pay $0.50 at a toll booth. My mother would often times give a dollar and tell the worker she was paying for the person behind her as well as herself. This notion carried with me, and still resonates inside me. I've sometimes paid for the person behind me while at the Drive-thru of a restaurant. I've seen this done at coffee places frequently as well. I actually found lots of stories of such things. Here is one such story.
After giving this some more thought I realized I do this in many other ways that don't call for money. I've given a backpack filled with a blanket, a bible, and some nutrient-rich food bars. I have tons of newborn baby boxes prepared to give to people in my closet. I've spent time helping people, I've volunteered in various places.
Giving more thought to this small thing my mom did when I was younger I can now see how it impacted my life in such a profound and incredible way. Early in life, when I was only ten years old I wanted to give of my time to help people. I walked across town and signed up as a volunteer at the nursing home. I would pass out snacks, help with activities, and offered a kind ear to people whose dream was to be heard. I loved it. I can even vividly recall certain 'characters' that I became fond of while there.
I signed up for AmeriCorps right after graduating college because I wanted to help people. I was able to create an afterschool enrichment center for inner youth elementary school students, help repair homes, repaint schools, teach people about things that could help change their life, and I got to connect with so many people.
Today I am in school for my Masters in Professional Counseling because I still want to connect with people and help enrich their lives. It's my passion and soon my career. I won't stop doing the smaller things however. I'll randomly pay for someone's meal at a drive-thru. I'll volunteer my time. I don't do it to feel good about myself. I do it because it is the right thing to do. It's not a What Would Jesus Do thing. It's not a feel good kind of thing. It's just...a part of who I am.
I know that whole nature vs nurture debate but I have to wonder if watching my mom actively helping the person behind her set in motion a passion and drive in myself to want to do that every single day I breathe. Is that a characteristic that was already in me- DNA-ish or is it something else?
And that makes me wonder just where my passion for writing came from? Was it my Granny who taught me the love of books at the tender age of 5? I was writing at such a young age-7 yrs old. Where would that passion and creativity come from if not my DNA? I used to think it was a tool I used for my own survival because I endured some hard stuff so young but what if it was just really all DNA? A part of me thinks it is because it is something I cant turn off.
Then again, does it even matter?

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