Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection is from Regional Reporter Coordinator Gustavo Adolfo Aybar.
As I near my fifth year at Unbound, I reflect on the many thrills and struggles I encountered during that time. Those first few months in the organization found me as a newly single father, in a new apartment, and dealing with the loss of my traditional family and its future. I felt broken. Hopeless.
In those early days, I worked on the Sponsor Services side that forms part of the Unbound call center team. I remember moments when I connected to a sponsor, shared news about their sponsored family, and found myself growing more resilient through the examples of the families in the program. Due to the daily interactions with various lives, either staff members, youth, elders or sponsors and donors, I was reminded to appreciate the many blessings in my life.
I discussed a single mother’s challenges to feed, raise and educate her three children. I privately applauded a father’s commitment to help his wife’s voice evolve into a vital part of the decision-making process within their family structure. I learned about two young brothers — both blind — and their willingness to persevere.
Each phone call, letter, interview and conversation led me to realize that resilience required me to fully accept my situation and the people close to me — the life-draining, as well as the life-affirming. Resiliency demanded that I understand my contributions to the problem. This new commitment allowed me to focus on self-improvement and gratitude.
One of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes says, “I can be changed by what happens to me. But, I refuse to be reduced by it.” My years at Unbound helped me to identify challenges as opportunities for growth, the triumphs as lessons learned. This quote serves as a reminder to me that the resiliency of our families shapes and elevates them. Their fortitude guides us along this journey.
Dear God, I pray for anyone going through new, difficult or uncertain times to feel your constant love and support. I pray they can learn from your example and the example of others to rise above their situation and embrace the journey and the growth. More importantly, I pray we continue to count our blessings, to see life as a gift. I pray we develop the strength to endure life’s difficulties and the wisdom to appreciate life’s splendor. Amen.