By: Katie Hart Smith | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Katie Hart Smith | Gwinnett Citizen
Published: 2016-06-14 14:27
Katie Hart Smith

Do you listen to your heart? I knew a woman who did. She told me that when she was a young girl that her father was adamant about her not seeking a higher education.

He felt she was better suited to stay at home, working on their family farm in southern Indiana. His hope for her was that she would make a great housewife for someone someday.

This spirited and independent young woman thought differently. She was smart and wasn’t afraid to step out and do her own thing. She envisioned a bright, prosperous future for herself, knowing she could offer the world so much more. She desired to be a nurse. The family wasn’t rich and money was very tight. Her mother, on the other hand, believed in her and her dreams. So, together they devised a plan to make her daughter’s wishes come true. 

The young girl took a job working as a switchboard operator for the telephone company. When her father left the house to work in the fields each day, her mother stayed at home and sewed the nursing uniforms that her daughter required to attend nursing school in the city of Indianapolis. Before her husband returned home each night, the uniforms were hidden in a trunk, her daughter’s “hope chest,” with the hopes that they would not be discovered. 

One evening, when the father came home, his daughter was not to be found. His wife informed him that she had left home and moved to the city to pursue her dreams. She told him their daughter had saved all of her money from her job to pay for her tuition, books, room and board.  At first, he was heart-broken that she defied him. However, with time, her father came to accept her decision knowing that she was truly happy with her choice.

Who is this woman I am telling you about? Orvada Coila “Kay” (Killion) Isensee, my maternal grandmother who was affectionately called, ‘Gigi.’ 

Gigi listened to her heart, followed her passion into the nursing profession, and graduated from Methodist Episcopal Hospital Training School for Nurses on June 7, 1927. It was a bold decision to defy traditional expectations at that time. She knew that by pursing an education, it would unlock so many doors of opportunity that she may have never realized had she chosen to stay on the path that her father outlined for her.

Gigi had a very full, happy, and blessed life. Her legacy lives on in my mom, sister, and I.  We were fortunate to have her in our lives until her 102nd birthday. She believed in exposing her daughter and her granddaughters to the arts, culture, and international travel at young ages so we had a broader understanding and true appreciation of what the world had to offer. She knew that knowledge was power. As a result, we all obtained our Masters degrees. Mom actually holds two Master’s degrees, one in Recreational Therapy and the other in Education, with a focus on Gerontology.

God has a divine plan for all of us. How many times do you often dismiss listening to your own inner voice? We let others cloud and guide the decisions in our lives with the hopes of making them happy. In the end, you are deterred from following your true path to your authentic self.

Fulfill your individual expectations, hopes, and dreams and dedicate yourself to being the best that you can be in this world. 

Listen…can you hear what your heart is telling you?

About Katie Hart Smith
Katie Hart Smith's column, “From the Heart,” touches the heart, inspires, and entertains.  Smith, a published author for over twenty years, believes that words, written or spoken, have power. To learn more, visit www.katiehartsmith.com