by Judy Parker
Reverend Patty Furino was one of the first neighbors I met after moving to an apartment in Rock Hill, South Carolina, close to my daughter. Other than my daughter I knew no one in Rock Hill. Patty’s kind words of encouragement as she walked her dog Coba past my patio meant a lot. From our initial encounter Patty’s deep genuineness and care for others was apparent. Within a couple weeks after meeting Patty I lost my beloved rescue Sophie. The support Patty gave me (along with loaning her sweet Coba to me on multiple occasions) confirmed my first impression of her. She has now become a very important part of my life.
I honestly don’t know how I would have made it through the last 5 months without the emotional support Reverend Patty Furino has given me. Between dealing with the loss of my beloved dog Sophie on 2/15/21 after 12 years as my sole companion, transitioning to life in a new city far from my remaining nine siblings, and developing a new and healthier relationship with my grown daughter, it has been a challenging time to say the least.
Among many things Patty has taught me is that if I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of anyone else. Thanks to Patty I am learning to listen to my own heart and to focus some attention on what Judy needs. I no longer rush to anybody I perceived as needing my help; to some it may sound selfish, but I have discovered that self-care is essential to my peace of mind. She has helped me see that being still is a wonderful gift we can give ourselves ,without feeling guilty. I have experienced first-hand the benefit of Patty’s advice to meditate and listen for guidance before making a major decision.
With Patty’s mentoring my whole attitude is changing to a more positive one. More than ever before I see that the way I look at life greatly affects my experience. As Patty likes to say, I am the co-creator with spirit of my own life story. So with that in mind, I work daily on keeping my thoughts more positive because I now believe that our thoughts affect our reality. I have always enjoyed helping others, but Patty has helped me realize that sometimes you need to help them help themselves. It is tough not doing what your loved ones expect but sometimes it is better in the long run to empower them to find their own truth. Patty is teaching me to be cognizant of my impact on everyone with whom I interact including the lady at Walmart, the waitress, the store clerk, the guy at the park and not just on my loved ones. She is helping me see that by walking with awareness, together we can create a better world one small step at a time.
Featured background image used with permission of Kim Doyle ©2021
About The Writer
Judy Parker was born on July 30,1951 in rural Williamsburg County, South Carolina. As a middle child of 11 in a farming family she learned at an early age what hard work really meant. Judy attended Winthrop College, in Rock Hill, South Carolina from August 1969 until December 1970, after which time she transferred to the University of South Carolina(USC) in Columbia. Judy earned a Bachelor of Science in Education (mathematics) in 1974 and a Master of Mathematics in 1977 from USC.
Judy’s first career was as a mathematics teacher at junior and senior high schools in Columbia ,South Carolina from August 1977 until January 1983. After teaching, she transitioned to the field of Information Technologies. From January 1983 until her retirement in May 2013, her positions included: insurance and real estate computer systems installation and troubleshooting, data systems analyst, instructor of insurance principles ,system software, and computer systems problem management. She enjoyed her career and found immense satisfaction in her work.
She is divorced and the mother of one 34-year-old daughter. After retirement, Judy had a little difficulty in figuring out what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. Because of her passion for the outdoors, she quickly decided to use her free time to hike in state and national parks. Judy is currently exploring the idea of buying an RV and “traveling this grand land of ours. “