Sawubona & Sikhona: A Letter from Jodi
I’m writing this letter from Durban, South Africa. So to keep this real, I’ll stick with a suitable greeting – Sawubona! (An appropriate response here would be ‘Sikhona’ meaning “I am here”).
A while back I was blessed with the opportunity to join an awesome marketing team for a rapidly growing company. As someone who has a passion for creativity and business, I couldn’t have found myself in a better place. I was constantly in awe with the fact that God had put me in a position that I had so frequently asked Him for. Then something happened.
My ambitions took over and my focus was shifting everywhere else but towards Him. This carried on for a good while until God did that awesome thing again and drew the line when I so clearly forgot to. I began hearing a ‘sawubona’ from every direction. It was only after a couple of sawubona’s when I started responding sikhona, sikhona! I had drifted from my purpose and this was it. This was God about to help me get back on track.
After surrendering to His will, although still completely blinded by what it in fact was, I resigned from my marketing job with no plan B. But that was just it. I didn’t need a plan B because I was and still am on plan A. Just not my plan A.
As I write this letter to you, I am sitting in my classroom. That I teach in. Everyday. But Gods plan is never subtle. He wanted more. I now have this beautiful responsibility of being Youth Coordinator at my parish, too (there is a lot of admin involved, but God manages to shine through it all).
In sharing this with you, it probably won’t change your life, but I hope that it affirms the fact that God’s will, will prevail. He loves us so much- I wish I could carry on writing about all the times I have failed him but He always comes through for me so much more than I expected. I am so flawed and yet He still does such amazing things in my life. I hope you see that He does this for you too, sometimes we just choose not to see it. We need to open our eyes and our hearts to all these blessings because they often don’t come to us the way we expect. If we are not open to His presence, we will always be going one step forward and ten steps back. Needless to say, he will be with us in those ten steps.
Get to know Jodi
Tell us about yourself!
Hello! My name is Jodi. Been aging now for about 23 ½ years. Current occupation: lesson planner, summary creator, prayer finder and motivation giver. Basically, I’m a teacher at a high school and the youth coordinator at my parish. These two sometimes coincide, and I’m beginning to think that this is somehow linked to my vocation. My current state-in-life? Well, quite an emotional state to say the least.
What do the first two hours of your day look like?
I really want to say that my mornings are a time where I gather my thoughts, speak to God and prepare myself for the day, but that would be a lie. In fact, my real life is quite inconsistent. Which is unusual for me. If it’s a Monday, the first two hours of my day usually involve mass and something caffeinated. The rest of the mornings I barely have enough time to get ready. This is thanks to my friend, procrastination, who likes to visit all too often.
What's your favorite part of your job?
The favourite part of my occupation at the moment is not knowing what the day holds (this is, by the way, also highly unusual for me – I generally like to know what’s happening). There are so many unexpected challenges and successes that I get to experience. It’s through these unexpected times that I find myself drawing nearer to God, sometimes even unintentionally. I find myself asking him for help when I didn’t think I needed it (we always need His help, I’m realising this) and I’m praising him when I didn’t think I would. He gives me these opportunities in every aspect of my occupation, and I am so grateful!
What's one fear that keeps you up at night?
I think I am at the stage in my life where I don’t necessarily seek approval from others, and yet somehow I do. I constantly wonder how the things I say and do will be interpreted by people and this certainly keeps me up at night and it’s a personal challenge I find myself facing on a daily basis. Why am I worried about what others think? I should be seeking the approval of the I AM only. If it’s any consolation, I’m working on this. At night. When I can’t sleep.
The first time I experienced a strong sense of belonging in the Catholic Church.
I was born and raised into a Catholic family, so to really think back on a time when I felt a strong sense of belonging in the church is quite a thing I must be honest. I will say though, that the older I get, the more TOTALLY in love I am with everything that we believe as Catholics. The moment I started doing things for the sake of my own faith and my own soul (and not simply because the parents insisted or people expected), was when I truly felt a sense of belonging. It was here, when I started doing things for the right reasons and intentions, that this sense of belonging became real for me. The very word “Catholic” makes me jump up and down inside because it reminds me that I am part of a community that believes and wants so much more than reality itself. I am part of a community that wants love, faith, sacrifice, beauty... this list is endless.
Tell us about a woman you look up to.
I wish I could say I had green fingers, but I don’t. Nevertheless, I am constantly drawn to flowers, have been now for quite some time (I’m that crazy person that stands in the super market for about 5 minutes looking at the flowers, but never actually buys because they are always too expensive).
In saying this, I just cannot get Saint Therese of Lisieux off my mind. This “little flower of Jesus” knew exactly what it felt like to love, and she did it so beautifully with faith and patience. Amongst her many, many quotes, I particularly like this one: “My whole strength lies in prayer and sacrifice, these are my invincible arms; they can move hearts far better than words, I know it by experience”.
Favorite literary character. Go!
Two words. Elizabeth Bennet (from ‘Pride and Prejudice’). If I were to pretend to be a literary character, she would be on the top of that list. One of her better one liners: “If a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavor to conceal it, he must find it out.” – Yes, girl! Preach it.