Putting Life Into Perspective: Inspired to Do More for Others in Need, October 11, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #812)

They say epiphanal moments come in threes. And I just had my third moment. Perhaps I needed it.

1) A life worth living
The first moment was a funeral that I attended Friday morning. The lady who died was two years younger than I am now, so she was too young to die. I did not know her, but I am friends with her parents. The lady had been through the ringer for the last 20 years–having part of a cancerous tumor removed at 34, mere months after giving birth to her second and last child. Then she had to have chemo, learning to walk again, learning to adapt from being an athlete to a dependent person, and many other areas where her life was no longer the same. She had a loving husband and sons and extended family and friends. She was loved, truly loved. And her inspirational story of her never letting what she lost overwhelm her remembering what she still had, touched me very deeply. And here is one of the lovely hymns played at her funeral (not intended in a preachy way, I just like the sentiments):

 

2) My failure revealed
The second moment came Saturday when I realized that I was not invited to a gathering–that I knew I wouldn’t be invited to anyway. It is too long a story to go into here. So the short version is that I am being shunned for my bleeding heart, as it used to be labeled. Last year, I had countered a younger person’s dismissive attitude about those in lesser circumstances with examples from my longer life of peoples and organizations that I volunteered with or donated to and for to benefit people on the margins, the disadvantaged, the underprivileged, the underemployed, the forgotten, and the abused.

I respect and admire my friends who live in difficult circumstances with grace and perseverance too much to cave in to pressure to agree with those who have little or no compassion for others. My late friend Emma–the retired waitress of 50 years who had barely existed on Social Security and social aid in her final years–whom I eulogized here on my blog after her death in 2011, was one such graceful, dignified, person of lesser circumstances–who always shared her gentle spirit with others–and whom I admired and called a dear friend.

So I spoke passionately to this younger person last year about the debilitating cycles of poverty and the shameful legacy of racism. And I argued that society needs to help the less fortunate, that children cannot help being born into poverty and deserve a good life with opportunity, as much as, a child born to wealthy parents has, that society needs to work for the common good in helping and empowering individuals in need, and that we and society benefit when we raise others up. I believe that we are our brother’s keeper. But it was to no avail.  The younger person would not hear me. I failed.   And though I thought that we had agreed to disagree last year, that younger person has cut me out of their life.   And it is a person whom I dearly love, even though I do not have contact with them directly anymore. It will be my greatest regret if we are not able to mend this rift.

I have hesitated to share this about myself here on my blog. But I feel that it is important to be honest and forthright. I am a flawed person, not perfect. And my wish to focus on the positive and hopeful in my blog here, is sometimes born of my sorrow. And perhaps sharing my story will help someone else feel not alone.

 

3) Struggling to raise her children, a Mom explains why feeding her kids from a food bank is not a disgrace; part of Yahoo’s #NoShameParenting series:
And then a third moment, the following story came into my news feed this past Saturday night just after our clothes washer broke down and must now be repaired (we hope it can be repaired)–this mother’s story is a gift to me of further inspiration and of perspective. Here is an excerpt:

“As I was juggling a box of week-old crackers and a bag of apples with brown spots on them while trying to find my keys, my 7-year-old daughter hit the back of my leg so hard with a bag full of cans she was lugging up the stairs that my whole body recoiled. We weren’t even in the kitchen yet when my 4-year-old son, clutching a box of cereal to his chest while grinning from ear to ear, asked me the same question for the third time in a row.

“Can we eat this now, Mommy?” he pleaded, his eyes reflecting the excitement in seeing a picture of a toy prize on the front of the box — a prize that probably wasn’t even in the cereal box anymore because it had clearly been ripped open and then taped back together. Exhausted from the mental toll that the trip to the food bank had taken on me and wanting to buy just a few more minutes of time before I crushed his 4-year-old dreams, I heard myself saying, “We can eat in 20 minutes if you guys go play first.”

Clamoring off and nearly running each other over in their attempts to reach their toys first, I sunk down onto my couch and thought about how I had gotten myself into this position — how I had become the mother feeding her children from a food bank and why I was the mom who constantly had to disappoint her children with the reality of everything that I simply cannot give them. …

Please read more of this mother’s poignantly inspirational story at:
https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/i-may-have-to-feed-my-kids-at-a-soup-kitchen-but-090049171.html

After reading about this lady struggling financially to raise her kids with love and a sense of their own self worth, I feel that my troubles are miniscule. This article was just the shot in the arm I needed –if not to boost–at least to strengthen my resolve and to realign my spirits. I am refocused and repurposed.

We are on this Earth for but a brief span of time, and we must use our time wisely. I will not have the legacy of children to live on after me–no grandchildren to remember me, nor descendants to look me up in a family tree, wondering about who I was. But hopefully, my legacy will be of trying to be helpful and understanding to those who struggle or who are in need, encouraging and mentoring to my students, and being grateful for the blessings that I have in my life of the love of my husband and the kindness of my friends.   And I hope that I will make a positive difference in people’s lives, however small a positive difference that might be.

 

 

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About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
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12 Responses to Putting Life Into Perspective: Inspired to Do More for Others in Need, October 11, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #812)

  1. Wendy says:

    Dear Grati, thank you also are an inspiration certainly to me. Your story telling is just one area that I love and when I am feeling low they manage to cheer me up. I have ever et you but feel that you are an extremely kind person . These stories have been much food for thought. Blessings. Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Wendy,
      Thank you for your very kind note! I appreciate it more than I can say. And I am always humbled when people tell me that they like my stories and essays–and they tell me that they mean something to them, beyond the storytelling. It is a gift that I never could have hoped for and would never have received, but for the friendships I have made in the RA Fandom community and with others.
      Blessings to you! Grati ;->

      Like

  2. P.S. And though rare for me to have two posts on the same day, a related RA post sprang to my mind. So there will be another post that publishes at 12:04pm, in a little over 4 hours from now.

    Like

  3. LadyGrayse says:

    Gratiana, this is beautifully written. And it’s wonderful to know there are still compassionate people in the world. You are an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear LadyGrayse,
      Thank you for your lovely note. You are very kind. But I fear that I am a poor inspiration, I wish I could do more for others. And I will try to do more for others.

      I know how it feels to be marginalized–growing up as a chubby kid who was teased and taunted in school. I had to do twice as well as anyone else. And still, that wasn’t enough. And though I came from a comfortable home financially, I did not gravitate to those kids and their vapid focus on expensive clothes, horses, private parochial schools, etc.

      My friendships were always based on common interests with our public school classes or Girl Scouts and such. Though I was blessed to also find several dear friends living near me who shared my feelings about respecting others regardless of their circumstance. And many of my school friends were from the “poorer” neighborhoods–and I learned about their sometimes difficult lives first hand. I never judged my friends by the size of home they lived in. And I admired their parents determination to create a good home for their kids to grow up in. They were important role models for me. Perhaps my compassion for others was nurtured by those friendships–as well as my mother’s loving guidance and her compassion for others. She had been a social worker before she married.

      Sorry for the long response. I’m a wordy girl. Ha! Love & Hugs! Grati ;->

      Like

  4. October 11, 2015–Thanks for liking this post! I’m glad that you enjoyed it!

    Carolyn, jholland, Servetus, & Esther

    Like

  5. Servetus says:

    It is sad to notice this but many people do not develop empathy for their suffering neighbors until they have suffered themselves (and sometimes not even then). Sometimes I think we have it too well in the U.S. if we can’t understand the struggles of those with so little, and I shudder when I think of people being hungry here, in a nation where we are lucky to have food in abundance. My mother would have quoted Galations 6:9 in a situation like this, but I admit that I have lately been experiencing a kind of compassion fatigue (probably because of work). Anyway — great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Servetus,
      Thanks for lovely comments about empathy. And I hear you about compassion fatigue. I had remarked to my hubby Friday that a local branch of a national aid organization had sent me requests for funds–for different programs that they had for helping people in need–in each of the last three weeks. But now, I’m going to pick one of those requests and send in my donation.

      And though those without empathy might cause us to despair, I am continually reminded of the kindness of others. And I have to remind myself not to let the bad outweigh the good, and to get cracking on making a donation of my time, my talents, or my “treasure” (meager though that is) .

      And with my medical bills–beyond what my “great” health insurance covers–we have had to focus our donation dollars more narrowly. So programs that aid children get our modest checks most of the time. Because every child deserves to have a better life. And no donation is too small a gift when coupled with other people’s donations.

      And thanks for your kind words about my post! Hugs! Grati ;->

      Like

    • P.S. And thanks also for sharing the bible verse of your mother’s–very fitting. My hubby looked it up for me before we had our sojourn to the laundromat earlier this afternoon. Here is that verse for others as well, from the Bible Gateway site:

      “Galatians 6:9New International Version (NIV)

      “9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.””

      Like

  6. Kitty says:

    Oh Gratiana. Your post has produced a lump in my throat. Hubby and I are in a place in our life together that I would never have dreamed of. We have been forced to re-evaluate things that we thought were permanent and established. We can only account for our actions and reactions, so he and I are treading into the unknown with the peace and assurance that our love for each other and our love for our Creator can give. It is quite liberating to put life into perspective without a care for others’ opinions, knowing that we base our decision on Right, on Love for our fellow man. We hurt for the loss of relationships but we press on together. We are scarred, yet healing, with no regrets. Swiss philosopher, Henri Frederic Amiel said it best, “Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kitty,
      Thank you for sharing your story! And I am sorry for your difficulties. It saddens me that people cannot accept that others believe differently than themselves. What has happened to civil discourse, and agreeing to disagree?

      But perhaps more importantly, how can our society as a whole reach a point where they care about and work for the benefit of everyone in our society–not just those with political clout or financial backing. Yes, there will be compromises in public policy. But those who are vulnerable–especially children and the elderly–should not be put at risk by society not prioritizing them as being worthy of consideration, nor should the vulnerable be blamed and punished for being poor.

      My blog post above was one that I was hesitant to share, yet it has resonated with several people. So, I am glad that I decided to share it. And I have not reached a point where I do not care about others’ opinions, but I realize that have no say in their opinions. And as you mention, we can only control our own actions and our own reactions to others.

      And apart from the example/moment # 2 that I gave in my post above, I am currently experiencing another situation wherein I must stand up for someone else and act as a metaphorical buffer/shield as needed–almost daily. And I curiously find an inner reserve of strength when I am defending someone else. However, that situation needs to resolve itself, soon–for the sake of the other person. And I have no power to effect that resolution, but I am fervently hoping that it does get resolved.

      Keep strong! Hugs! Grati ;->

      Like

  7. October 11, 2015–The Wellness Program at my university has a bathroom intervention campaign that they run–primarily for students, but they have some useful messages for people of all ages.

    No, the intervention is not about the bathroom, but it is “in” the bathroom–with flyers up in every stall touting Wellness programs, policies, and words of wisdom (WofW). I have to admit that they are being quite strategic in reaching out to a “captive audience”, so to speak.

    The latest WofW are about living our lives “ethically” and “authentically”. They urge individuals to reflect upon their attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors. Are they in synchrony with each other, or is there a disconnect? And if there is a disconnect, individuals should consider seeking ways to realign their choices and their priorites to live “ethically” and “authentically” as that pertains to their attitudes, beliefs,values, and behaviors.

    I thought that this Wellness topic was very apropos of what we are discussing with this blog post, so I thought that I would also share about it with you.

    Cheers! Grati ;->

    Like

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