Virginia Woof Art Quilt in Progress by Anne Copeland
We are not going to have everything our way all the time. We can choose to be happy in life regardless of any given circumstances. Life is truly what we make of it.
Virginia Woolf was, by all appearances, someone who had everything going for her. She had a husband who loved her, a circle of friends who were creative people and who thought for the most part as she did related to life philosophy. Her books and writings were successful, and she had a beautiful home with everything a person could possibly want or need.
And yet, she ended her own life by her own choosing. She never looked at any alternatives for her own self. It is true that there was not mental health help in those times as there is now, but there were things she could have chosen to do. She drew a wall around her life, and chose not to allow anything in or out.
No matter where we are in this life, we can always choose to accept the things we deal with as outside ourselves. We might not be able to change these things, but we can choose the way we think about them. We can always choose to love and accept ourselves as we are, and as we are not.
As we enter this season with people rushing here and there to purchase every last thing they can for others, I think on what civilization has become. And I think of the beautiful saying, “Blessed are the Poor, for they shall inherit the earth.” I believe that this saying is true for reasons that you may not have thought of.
So many majorly poor people struggle through life to glean the fields for food, and to eat foods that most people throw away. They find what clothing they can, or they create it from cloth or skins that are thrown away or left from some other use. In doing these things, they are, in their own simple ways, helping this earth to survive. They are not throwing away trash that pollutes the soil ultimately and creates land that is no longer fertile and perhaps a danger to health ultimately.
Free from materialistic needs and wants for the most part, they live simply from day to day. They are the first to share whatever meager things they have. I have seen this down in Mexico in the interior. The people we visited lived in a one-room adobe home with a dirt floor. They had no visible food in their home except for one jar of homemade preserves sitting on a shelf. Perhaps they had grown and made that jam, or perhaps that was given to them as a gift; I will never know.
As we sat in the early evening light, the sun shone on the fruit, creating a beautiful sight. I inadvertently admired it, and the woman got up immediately to give it to me. I was touched deeply by such sharing and simple trust in the universe to provide from day to day what little these people had. To refuse such a gift is considered impolite, so I accepted it. As we continued on our journey, and I thought back on those people, I thought of how good it is to be happy with what we have and what the earth blesses us with. I thought how we must return to living simply to help our earth to survive for our children, and our children’s children. And it was good.
Thumbing through a newspaper one day, I was stuck by a photo of this truly incredible woman. So petite and delicate in appearance, who would ever imagine that she is the national hero of the people of Myanmar, Burma, and that this woman almost single-handedly has led the people in her area toward a major resistance against the military regime that has so consistently prevented the people from gaining freedom and that has consistently brutalized and murdered the citizens in that country for so many years.
Women are rising up in this world in so many ways to fight for rights, and many like Aung San Suu Kyi have dedicated their lives to help others in their countries to be able to live fully without fear. I would love to hear about your special women heroes in this life and what they have done. We need to make others aware that freedom is not free. Like the many male heroes who have given their lives to give this greatest of gifts to all of us, we need to find ways to ensure that they are never forgotten.
As we continue a season of holidays, I want to wish you the very best life has to offer, no matter what set of holidays you choose to celebrate. I wish you peace, joy, and an appreciation of the sacred in this world.
This is a time of renewal, and a time of quiet contemplation about the world that we have been given in which to have the experience of being an important part of the universe with its many different dimensions. As the world seems to sleep, new life is forming quietly in so many different places and going unnoticed until it bursts forth in all its glory when spring awakens.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Leo Buscaglia – Author (1924 – 1998)
We are all here on this earth because we are loved. We have all received the greatest gift a person can get in this life, and that is life itself. Treat yourself with the respect and dignity you deserve – Never send yourself to the bargain basement. You are sacred because everything on this earth is dependent on everyone and everything else. You are important to the survival of this planet.
One of my favorite old-time actresses, Jo Coudert, since passed on, wrote in a book, Advice from a Failure, “Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never leave nor lose. To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life, you are the only solution.”
You were there for me, and you didn’t even know my name. You fought for me, and millions like me whom you never got to meet. And you fought for your wives, your children, and your grandchildren, and this country of ours. You came back, alive but wounded, or you came back in a casket. You did your best to preserve our country and our freedom. You were terrified at times, and sick from seeing all the dead and dying and the wounded, but you kept fighting. Thank you forever. Thank you for all the children growing up in a free country, and for all those who don’t even realize how great was your sacrifice. I don’t know your names either, but I know that you did the best anyone could have done for any of us. And I thank you one and all. I wish you could hear me say it. I wish I could shake all of your hands, or perhaps make a quilt for you and your families, who still cry when they remember what you were willing to give.
I cry when I remember my little brother, barely a man at 18, and how he came back 100% disabled from a war we should not have perhaps fought. His sacrifices, like yours, gave me the heart to forever on work with those with physical and other challenges. It gave me the heart that when I see you missing a limb or more than one, or suffering from PTSD to want to hug and comfort you and to say that I will never forget one of you. I grew up in a military family and every male member fought in one of the wars through time; some never made it back home.
This day is coming to an end, but your day will be forever remembered in the hearts of many of us. And again, I want to say to all of you, thank you forever.