… An inspiring story of hope, courage, and perseverance!
The most striking feature belonging to Olga Mahecha is her beautiful smile. That “in your face, take it or leave it, this is who I am” smile. Then, you hear her story of personal hardship, and then you wonder how she could still produce such a warm, engaging smile. Six years ago her husband of 15 years left her and their 2 children aged 16 and 17. With her world now shattered, she mustered up the courage to pick up the pieces and continue forward—but it was not easy. Her job as a professional mortgage underwriter was simply too stressful for this new single mother.
Additionally, she had to tend to the growing emotional needs of her two teens. It took its toll on her and four years later, she made the radical decision to change careers. So she enrolled in and was immediately accepted into the Early Childhood Educator (ECE) diploma program at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto, Canada. No longer able to afford a car, she has had to walk to and from college every day for the past two years. She has made this and countless other sacrifices for the love of her small family of three; but sacrifice has its rewards.
Her children have witnessed her silent courage and have emulated her. They are both successful university students – both scheduled to complete their degrees by 2016. Olga herself will culminate her studies by August 2015. She will graduate with honours.
Although life had pushed her into a ditch on occasions, Olga’s faith in God has sustained her. To reciprocate God’s love for her, Olga began to pay it forward. As such, she became a dedicated volunteer in her church and her community. The hours of her volunteer work are too numerous to count. And while she has never been publicly recognized, that has not deterred her passion to volunteer.
At church, she mentored younger women. She also became a certified First Responder to serve women in crisis pregnancies through the church’s affiliation to the Pregnancy Care Centre. There, she offered caring, supportive, and non-judgemental help as well as provided relevant information.
A couple of years back, she realized she had survived the emotional tsunami and she was still standing. In fact, she was a better, stronger person for it. This revelation prompted her to gather her family for an evening of reconciliation. That night, she offered forgiveness to her ex-husband. Having witnessed Olga lead by example, her children followed suit. Since then, the family continues fun outings just as they did before the divorce. The power of forgiveness and reconciliation is limitless. It requires one strong person to make a decision. Olga made a decision and as a result, it set in motion a series of positive repercussions in the lives of the four people that make up her restructured family.
Today, with her nose buried in multiple books, she studies arduously to maintain her 3.8 GPA. She laughs at the prospect of graduating with girls half her age. In the end, she will have set a solid example for her class-mates too. An example of survival and courage and forgiveness and new beginnings. God only knows the exact number of people that have been positively impacted by Olga. All I can say is this: when I met her son, I could not wait to meet the mother of such an amazing, considerate, kind young man. His character and behavior are a complete reflection of an outstanding mother. Olga, you are the epitome of the woman celebrated in Proverbs 31.
By Norma Trivino