Life seems ponderous at times, and definitely overwhelming with so many negative things happening in the world. But doing one little thing CAN help make a difference. Find one small thing you can do to change things for one person or for a few and do it. There is no lack of choices to help you find something that fits your skills, knowledge and abilities. Do it today.
When I saw the photo of this beautiful and diminutive lady in the newspaper, I was inspired to create her likeness in a quilt which is still not finished. There is something about finishing it that reminds me of her life, for her goal is unfinished, and her country of Myanmar is still unfinished in the sense of gaining freedom for her people, so in a way it seems appropriate to be unfinished. I will finish it I am certain, but I have to make some adjustments to it in the direction she is facing and the overall size, etc. of the quilt. Giving it texture will enhance the quilt greatly just as giving texture to life enhances it as well.
I love people who make a commitment in life that they will pursue despite whatever challenges or dangers they face in the process. Called “The Father of Democracy” by the people of the country, her father was assassinated when Aung San Suu Kyi was just two years old. Despite such heart-breaking challenges, she steadfastly stuck by her beliefs even though she was under house arrest for years and has faced unbelievable circumstances. Her husband and two sons had to move outside the country. When her husband was stricken with cancer, she was told that she could go to be with him in his time of need, but that if she did, she could never come back. What a heart-rending decision had to be made and what incredible sacrifices the whole family made.
Yes, she is one of my heroes. No matter how much I might believe in something, I am not sure I could ever have given so much to such an immense cause.
It is good to have heroes in this life as I have noted before. We all need to know that when we are called to do something difficult, there are others who have made a path for us to follow. Perhaps those in her country who are against her are just waiting out the time when she too will pass on. Although she won the Nobel prize during the time she lived under house arrest not much has changed in Myanmar to this day.
If the time comes that I have to stand up and fight for a cause in my lifetime that I too will have the courage to stay strong and be brave until my last moments on this earth. I long for the all of earth’s people to learn to work together for our mutual benefit, and to realize and respect that we are all sacred and here on this earth by some great design.
Elizabeth Jameson is an magnificent imperfect human being – or as she puts it, a human being living in an imperfect body.
Elizabeth married the love of her life and had two boys. She had a degree with honors in law and was a human rights attorney. She was in the prime of her life, and looked forward to serving others with a variety of needs.
Then one day, when she took her boys to a playground, she suddenly suffered from an attack on her brain. It turned out to be a rare form of MS that starts at the brain stem, and it very quickly took hold of her body, ultimately leaving her a quadriplegic. In the early stages of her illness, she became depressed because she had been living to be able to help others and to serve in the best ways she could. She first turned to fiber arts as a way to express having a body that no longer communicated properly with itself.
As her body’s functions continued to malfunction, she turned to another art form – the MRI’s of her brain, and they became her way to link science and art and to see her brain in positive ways.
I have known Elizabeth for many years; she is one of the artists in the book that I edited with other assistance from Barbara Williamson, Artful Alchemy: Physically Challenged Fiber Artists Creating.
One of the many things that I love about Elizabeth is the way she continues to evolve as her bodily functions are continuing to deteriorate. Her latest art endeavor is called “The Waiting Room.” She got permission to leave paper for notes in one of the medical waiting rooms she frequents, and the medical facility now has an exhibit of people’s thoughts on visiting the waiting room.
You can find a talk by Elizabeth about her challenges on Ted.com, and you can get a copy of the book in E-book format or paperback from Amazon.com. The book has the inspiring stories of some 23 physically challenged fiber artists, and the ways some of us challenge the nature of what constitutes a physical challenge and the use of the word “disability.” Thank you very kindly.
I loved for my Grandmother to read to me, even when I was a teenager. I remember sitting next to her rocking chair and kneading her soft skin and telling her lovingly that it felt so good, like a turkey. For some, that may have been a dreadful thing to tell a Grandmother, but mine understood that it was soothing for me. She would always sit and tell me over and over the fairy tales I always requested. Strangely, both of these stories seemed so dismal on the surface, but I always interpreted them differently.
This is my conscious interpretation of the story. It is true that it was likely in Victorian times in England. It was Christmas eve, and it was very cold as citizens found their way around the area seeking last-minute gifts and special foods to celebrate.
The little match girl, a poor child who would represent reality in those times for a lot of children, was out in the street, poorly dressed for the cold. She held up her matches, for she knew she dare not return home without selling them. Her family did not have the good foods that others had to eat. She perhaps had not eaten all day or even several days. No one noticed the matches she held up in the cold.
Desperate to do something in this dismal time, she lit one of the matches. As the long match glowed in the dark, it warmed her a tiny bit, and in that moment, she saw a vision of possibility. She saw herself in a warm home with food and presents, and a beautiful Christmas tree lit with many colors. The other children with her were all aglow with happiness that permeated the cold, dark sky.
The match did not last. With a sort of strange bit of hope, she lit another match. Once again, her heart was filled with joy and happiness, if just for that moment. You know, it only takes a moment for a miracle. If we can experience the joy of being alive in our minds and our souls, just for that moment, we experience the true miracle of life.
As the matches continued to be lit, finally culminating in the lighting of the remainder of the matches all at once, she was able to transcend that reality of her life.
We are sometimes faced with ugly realities in our lives, and we don’t have to accept them as our forever reality. We can see the best even in the worst of times, and know that life will change as it always does. We are all sacred in this world, as is every plant, every animal, every grain of sand. We are not alone. We are part of the larger universe, and we would not be here if we were not meant to be. If we are here but a moment, we can make it the most beautiful miracle of a moment ever.