The Way Made Clear

The Way Made Clear

I grew up in Unity, but I didn’t understand what it meant to live the principles and concepts of Unity until I had to. My mother was a hardworking single mom, and my dad was sick but very present and always supported me. Growing up, I always felt blessed. 

Three years after I graduated from college, my father had a stroke. I got a phone call saying, “Your dad is dying.” At that moment, it felt like my whole life was falling apart. I had deep anger toward God for taking my father. Just weeks later, I got another hard-to-hear phone call telling me my mother’s cancer had metastasized to her lungs, brain, and kidneys. I was 25 years old. 

At the time, I couldn’t have imagined moving past my parents’ deaths and getting to a place of gratitude. I truly felt as though God turned his back on me. But now, six years later, I realized God never gave up on me—even when I had given up on myself. 

Growing up in Unity taught me the power of positive thinking and the ability we have to create our lives on our own terms. But after losing my parents, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I did some reevaluation and began asking myself, What will make me happy? I started turning to prayer and affirmations for answers. I also kept this core Unity principle in mind: “We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.” When I did this, a sea of possibilities opened up. 

I always dreamed of working at the United Nations, so I decided to go for that. While researching that option, however, all the websites I visited that listed the United Nations employment requirements indicated that applicants needed a graduate degree. I didn’t have one, nor did I have the financial means or interest in getting one. My dream now looked virtually impossible, but every day, I asked God to guide me toward achieving that. 

Several months later, I noticed on social media that an acquaintance was working as a journalist at the United Nations. I didn’t know how I felt about journalism, but I had been writing a lot—it felt like therapy for me. So I reached out to her, and she agreed to meet me for coffee. 

She ended up getting me a freelance gig at the United Nations with a small news agency based in Rome. I would cover the United Nations for them, and they would provide me with writing tips. I was overjoyed, if also a bit nervous. 

As soon as I started, though, I felt connected to the job because it gave me a platform to share issues that were important to me. Before my mother died, she read The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, a true story of a resourceful young woman in Afghanistan who was left to care for her five sisters after her father and brother were forced to flee Taliban-controlled Kabul. Forbidden to work, she nonetheless became a very successful (if undercover) entrepreneur, and she mobilized her community against the Taliban in the process. 

The book inspired my mother and made her feel brave. Even though she died a month after sharing that with me, she passed on to me her desire to do more for humanity and elevate the status of women and girls across the globe. I now know journalism is my calling, and news and human rights reporting has become my passion. 

Life is sweet again. I finally feel as if I can create a new normal, forging a deeper and more loving relationship with myself, my faith, and my understanding of these powerful principles. I’m honored to live this life and to have Unity as such a valuable presence. 

 

Author Biography: 

Stephanie Parker

Stephanie Parker is an award-winning journalist specializing in women’s rights issues and global human rights atrocities. She began her journalism career as a freelance United Nations correspondent with Inter Press Service, specializing in Africa and the Middle East (including the outbreak of the Syrian crisis). Parker then worked as a special correspondent for Xinhua, the national news service of China. She’s now a freelance journalist living in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @gbstephparker.