Compassion Bags in the U.S. &
around the world!
As a writer and speaker, words are Kristianne’s art. A deliberate stringing of words becomes one of the highest forms of human expression when it gives a voice to the heart. Compassion That Compels and Compassion Bags started with a letter, a sweater and Kristianne’s two sisters-in-law and sister’s, cancer diagnosis.
THIS WEEK’S BLOG POST
“A Clean Heart”
I don’t remember how I came across Compassion That Compels; it may have been Facebook or Instagram. I I had finished chemotherapy and was approaching a bilateral mastectomy. I received a message that there was a Compassion Bag for ME!
I picked up my bag from the Altar’d State store in Asheville, NC, and on that same day, I delivered my very first bag to BEAUTIFUL Vanessa. Later, I would return to Altar’d State and present a bag to another BEAUTIFUL overcomer. I delivered many more bags to many more BEAUTIFUL overcomers in the following weeks.
Delivering bags to women restored compassion for others in my soul; my heart was made anew. I no longer saw myself as a cancer patient, I began to see myself as a person paying forward all the love that had been bestowed upon me. Because of Compassion That Compels, I was able to move forward, with confidence. I found value again in work.
I have always worked. I started babysitting at a young age. I remember staying late in the evenings, parent(s) driving me home after they returned home from being out. Or starting in the early morning hours, so that the parent(s) could go to work. When I was old enough to work for a paycheck, my first job was at a frozen yogurt shop. I didn’t know then, but a strong work ethic had become a part of who I was. I continued to work, holding jobs as a sales associate, waitress, teacher, bank teller, case manager and clinic director.
After my cancer diagnosis in 2016, I experienced anxiety and depression that led me to leave my job as a teacher assistant. I began to brainstorm jobs I could do. For my own mental health I needed a job that I could do alone but would keep me busy, so my mind wouldn’t go to the dark places cancer takes it. The job needed to provide a finished product at the end of each day. Somewhere I was my own boss, my own worst critic. I needed a job where I could be left alone with my own thoughts and could go at my own pace. I needed a job where I could dress how I wanted to dress. Where I could come just as I was. But, what?
I have always liked cleaning and organizing. As a child, I would clean other students’ desks. At a young age, I began to clean my own house. My mom worked a full-time job; she was a single parent. I would clean to contribute to the household. Also, I can remember loving to rearrange my bedroom. Even now, my husband even says I enjoy creating a mess so that I can clean it up.
When I was able to leave the confinement of my bedroom, to open the blinds, leave the door open and not feel the need to retreat to my bed, I sent a message to my neighborhood Facebook page. It said, “If anyone is in need of someone to pet sit (walk your dog, etc.), run errands, do light housekeeping, etc. let me know.”
I had no idea if I would get any responses, but I put myself out there. I received my only response a few days later and cleaned my first house the following week.I cleaned, but really it was a cleansing.
As I open the door to each house, it’s where God awaits. At each house I am reminded that I am loved, good enough, and strong. I am blessing others through the cleaning, in return I am being blessed.
Today, I am READY. I am ready to go out into this BIG world, I am ready to go back to where my heart, soul, body long to be. I am ready to put myself out there. I am ready to use my brain, talents and gifts. I ready to show others they are LOVED no matter their circumstances, that it is possible to be an OVERCOMER.
The best is yet to OVERCOME. 😊
Are you considering going back to work after treatment? Do you need to take some time off of work because of treatment? No matter your situation, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be Kind to yourself
- Go at your own pace
- Keep an open mind
- It’s OK to take a step back
- Ask others for help
- Seek counseling
- Be honest
- Work can always wait, your HEALTH cannot
- Allow yourself this time (away from work) to REST, REJUVINATE and RECHARGE
- Take a shower each day
- Journal, write, blog
- Accept the fact that you can’t do all that you once were able to do, and THAT IS OK
- Remind yourself, daily, say it out loud —– THIS IS ONLY A SEASON
- When YOU are READY (you will be) seek employment that brings out YOUR PASSION
- Our greatest job is to love others, I LOVE YOU BEAUTIFUL ONE – YOU CAN DO HARD!
Jennifer Smith is a breast cancer OVERCOMER. She’s 41 years of age and currently resides in Clyde, North Carolina, with her husband (Jason), two boys (Jacob and Jonah), German Shepherd (June), beagle (Judd) a fourteen year old rescue shihtzu (Tucker), a turtle (Franklin), and a leopard gecko lizard (Jayden). Recently, Jennifer has found healing in cleaning other people’s houses. Follow her story on her blog, Jennifer’s Journey, or connect with her on Facebook or Instagram.