Tag Archives: peace

Women – what a wonderful mix

There are no limits on the number of fabulous women in the world.  In doing the research on my book, I am coming across so many women I wish I could focus more completely on but who don’t fit the parameters in my subject area . . . women who have gone through, traumatic, tragic experiences have become great and are doing great things as a result.

It has three parts. A tragic event occurs.  The person overcomes it or moves through it.  And because of the event (s), achieves greatness and helps others in the process. The thing I am experiencing is there are so many fabulous women in this world, doing remarkable things to help others.  Many are enabled by their status in the world to help whether they be celebrities who can attach their name to bring focus on a situation, or are from privileged or “normal” families and have not experienced the trauma of the magnitude I am looking for. To those, I have much admiration and gratitude for their services.

But I am finding these women who have been subjected to tragedies that would flatten most of us and went ahead to achieve brilliance.  Normal people faced with extraordinary experiences.  Women who have started out with hard lives faced more trauma, and gave their lives to making a better world for women or humankind.  I am humbled.

I look at these women and think of my own life, wishing I could have that extra something to do the things I always wanted to accomplish and never had the where with all or courage to reach out and work toward attainment.  But I am one of the millions who strive to do their best through their days, having ups and downs but walking onward.  Having little accomplishments that build upon each other.

Reading and writing about these women energizes me, fuels me.  Each time I find a new one I am like a parched and weary traveler who has found an oasis.  I drink of their accomplishments, of the terrors they have faced, of their energy and ability to sustain where others can only marvel.

Not to take away from men, but women desperately need leaders of their own sex to spur them onward, give them hope.  There are still too few true female leaders out there for us to latch on. They have to be world-renowned.  They can be becoming.  They can be carving out that nitch that needs exposing.  We can have History books devoted to what Women have achieved – about how History has been changed or impacted by the actions of Women.  Or, dare I say it, History books that equally represent the actions of women and men.

Take, for instance, Shirley Johnson in Tallahassee, Florida.  She began being raped when she was eight years old. At ten she became pregnant. At seventeen, she was the mother of six, married in name only.  By the time she was 27, she had 9 children with two husbands.  The first husband was the church deacon who was one of those raping her, whom she was forced to marry at age eleven.  She had to drop out of school when baby number six came along.  She was shamed and ridiculed within her church, the pastor of which was one of her rapists.  Her mother publicly accused her of lying about her attackers.

At age 56, she has found her voice.  She is fighting hard to make Florida become the first state in the Union to pass a law outlawing marriage, for any reason, before the age of eighteen. She is a caregiver, something she knows well how to do.  Nothing of privilege, she is only now receiving support in her endeavors from organizations for bringing the bill forward through the legislature.  To me, she is great.

It doesn’t take much to make a stand in this world.  You need only have a voice and be willing to use it.  You can be a ripple in the pond, sending other ripples outward.  Or be the butterfly’s wings in the Sahara that creates a hurricane in the Americas.  You can be like Mairead Maguire, who stepped out of her house to join a protest passing by and became a Nobel Peace Prize recipient for her work bringing peace first to Ireland and then to other countries.

It only takes a step . . . .

Allu Akbar

Allu Akbar
and others
swallowed in the dust
of death

Allu Akbar
and bicyclists die
on a bike path
away from a road
as truck speeds
twenty blocks
spewing bodies
hither and yon

Allu Akbar
when did a phrase
of Mohamed’s love
become a curse word
spit out in triumph
at death’s cruelty

Allu Akbar
and a political war
replaces religion,
a President using
the tragedy
as a platform
for rhetoric

Allu Akbar when
did it loose
it’s place of peace?

#everydayinspirations Prompt – Image

Chosen Image – Girl standing, looking into a forest

Scratching and clawing up the mountain, pushing through trees with long, sharp thorns, I started working my way through the pain and rage I felt.

Back at or family’s summer cabin, my parents were involved in a heated argument, sitting in chairs in the front yard. I have never been one who was highly vocal – my feelings were mine to keep.  However, when I heard that horrid, devastating word “Divorce”, I lit into them.  My fourteen year old self called the dogs and took off, trying to get as far away from the turmoil as I could.

Crossing the creek, I followed a late summer trickle of a mountain stream, rugged with sharp rocks at all angles. The stream fed the creek, with watercress and mint planted in its waters at the base. After scrambling over boulders, I got as far as I could before the boulders were too big to crawl over. I entered the land of thorns, shorter trees bearing inch long thorns throughout. It was a much larger area than I realized for in all the years we had been here in the summer, I hadn’t climbed the mountain.

Somehow, whenever major messages come from God, prickers and thorns are always a part of it  They don’t leave scratches or cuts – they are for the struggle and learning.  They are to get my attention, for the struggle of understanding.

Finally, I entered a glen as the thorns I passed away from. A huge tree had fallen, its root system an incredibly mosaic reaching to the sky. I was captivated, staring at the myriad lines the branches made.

Beyond was a barbed wire fence with a hunting road leading to a large fallow field.  A tiny cabin stood at the top. I crossed the road, easing my way through the barbed wire on both sides to a lush, soft green forest.  It was a fairy land. As I eased myself onto a log I could see moss climbing trees, grass ankle high. I breathed in the pure air and completely relaxed.  Moments later a young doe wandered to within 10 feet of me. We looked at each other, then she went back to nibbling the grass.  I couldn’t remove my eyes from her smooth, delicate beauty

A few minutes later the dogs came bounding back from their explorations. The doe took on look and high-tailed it away from their noisiness. Time to go. Crossing through the barbed wire, I decided to take the road down and the three of us started back downhill.

Back at home, all was quiet.  To my young eyes, my parents seemed to at least have called a truce.  My parents didn’t say a word to me but I was left with the feeling I had shaken them up a bit, and brought the tension they had so forcefully had earlier.

The lessons learned?:
a. State your truth.  It is right and appropriate to open your mouth and let others know how you feel
b. After life’s thorns comes beauty
c.  If you are not afraid, you won’t spread fear#everyday

 

 

 

The Right To Choose Suicide

THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE SUICIDE

Suicide evokes such a rash of feelings and jumble of thoughts in me. Nothing is easy in this arena. I have always been a firm believer in a person’s right to choose the time of their death, and in the past couple of years, I have been examining those values as my personal health issues have made me increasingly aware of my mortality.

When I was in college, my parents owned a residential home for the elderly. One of the women in the home, Marjorie, was a quiet woman, someone who held her own counsel. She shared the bedroom with another woman and we rarely heard her speak. It wasn’t that she was shy necessarily; just that she had an economy of language. She had been in the home for several years when she found out she had inherited a disease from her mother. The disease caused a slow and very painful death. Marjorie refused to accept those terms. She waited until she had a full prescription of her sleeping medication. During the two days before, she quietly went to each person in the home and let them know how much they meant to her. Then, she swallowed the entire bottle. When we woke the next morning she was gone, but she looked peaceful and had the trace of a smile on her face. We all respected her decision.

I fear I may develop dementia as my father had. I have no qualms about choosing to end my life before it gets too bad or I become a burden to my family. My children have a right to their own lives and having worked in Memory Care units and private duty care of people in the early, mid, and late stages of dementia, I know I don’t want a life like that. It’s a very hard, often long, way to go. I want my family to know me in better ways even though, as my daughter said, God will not except me in Heaven. To which I replied – then I will fertilize flowers right down here.