Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Making a Difference

I read a biography on Helen Keller when I was 9 years old. I was amazed with her life's story and how she overcame her circumstances. I was so enchanted by her life that I taught myself the alphabet in sign language – whatever was provided in the book – and studied Braille for a time. It was a biography written for someone in grade school, so the book focused on her early life.  I recall thinking about what it would be like to not see with my eyes or not hear the sounds and voices. To not have either was beyond my comprehension and yet her story now intersected with mine. It really made an impact on my young mind.  I had forgotten just how much of an impact it so I am struck today by this memory because I realize that some of the shaping of my identity has been influenced by her's and other stories of many such women.

I started reading biographies about all kinds of women.  It became one of my favorite pastimes.  From this I turned my attention into school projects mostly focused on the accomplishments of women.  In high school I became especially interested in the suffragette movement. I expanded my focus in college to a wider interest in women’s studies. I took so many courses in the department that I qualified for a minor and it was a nice compliment to my Middle East studies major and history emphasis. Or maybe not, but that doesn't matter anyway, it's just another piece to the Sara puzzle.

I think what perhaps is significant today is that I am remembering how much influence my studying women and their accomplishments have had in my thinking. I respected the women who shaped history in some fashion – little or big – and made a difference in their worlds. I don’t recall thinking I would or could change the world, but that I would do my best in my world.  I suppose I did think of myself as a feminist, but I don’t think that label is what I’m recalling. It is more of the intention of making a difference, or being one’s best, or maybe just being an overcomer. I wanted to be that kind of woman. And I knew in my heart that I would be. Even in the depths of the pain and loneliness of my marriage I sought out Biblical examples of women who could speak to my heart about making a difference in their worlds. The two that have become most endearing to me are Leah because she endured so much rejection and Abigail because she chose to do the right thing.

Somewhere along the way, I lost track of that dream. It withered with the loss of my authenticity. Today it has resurfaced. It didn't appear with trumpets and noisemakers. It sort of just bubbled to the surface. Go figure. There is was. I was reading some inspirational quotes and there were several by Helen Keller. A memory returned. And there in those thoughts was my childhood notion of who I would be.

What is most remarkable to me is that today I know that I will make a difference. I don’t know how, and that part doesn't matter. I know I will make a difference because I am different than I was a year ago. I am living authentically and daring greatly, and I am willing and open to whatever divine plans there are for me. I think that is enough. Actually, I know it is enough. A very smart woman asked me recently (ok, it is Debra), "Are you open for greatness?" I was a bit wimpy with my response. She continued with "I didn't say you needed to be great, just open for greatness, because that is all it takes." I'm still a bit shy of embracing greatness, but I am fully accepting of making a difference. Perhaps they are one in the same. There is something that is rather comfortable about becoming healthy, and I think it is called acceptance. 

I sure like these new scenic views in The Healing Lane, and for this, I am grateful. 

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