Speak kindly. Touch softly. Give hugs. Bless indiscriminately. Each of us is a bright light that shines into our world and makes it better.
This is Deshun Wang, an 80-year-old who knows what it’s like to re-create himself.
At least seven times, Mr. Wang started over again. At one point, he was homeless. Now, at 80, he says with a laugh that he is an “internet sensation.”
Mr. Wang believes that no one can keep you from being a success except yourself. Each of us has a different definition of success. For myself, if I can get through life with compassion and kindness and appreciation, I consider that I’m doing pretty well.
“When it’s time to shine,” Mr. Wang says, “be the brightest!”
May we remember this week that we are always shining, even if we feel ourself a dull, low-wattage light. it’s never too late to make a difference in this world made up of interconnected strings of light.
Sweet is the sound of the pouring rain,
And the stream that falls from hill to plain.
J. R. R. Tolkien
Rain! Rain! Glorious rain came to the Midwest last night. The cost of the rain was three hours’ power outage, but watching—smelling—the rain in the darkness, and gentle conversation by candlelight seemed more like benefits than a price to be paid.
I wish we could share our rain with California, where wildfires are uncontrollable, and share our heat with Louisiana, where 30 inches of rain fell in three days. Here in Kansas, the rains were a blessing.
To mend dry winds of summer heat
And weary grass beneath my feet
The rain has come to moisten air
And wash away my spirit’s cares.
“Every cloud has a silver lining,” my mom used to say. Looking back over my life, I can see that some events were blessings in disguise. At the least, the traumas constituted lessons to be learned.
Today shall we find a silver lining? A blessing? I know I am blessed because people care about me—and I care about you!
About the time Kathy Rigby was qualifying at the World Championships, I needed courses to satisfy my Phys. Ed. requirement. One course I chose was Women’s Gymnastics. None of the half dozen of us attendees had ever been exposed to tumbling, vaulting, beam or uneven bars, but we loved our class and loved our teacher, Mrs. Ann Laptad (Schiltz).
After the brief, six-week course was completed, we decided we wanted to compete and our teacher gamely put us in the collegiate schedule. As inept as we were, we did win one meet when the opposing team could not travel through the blizzard to reach Iowa City unscathed.
Michelle on Uneven Bars, 1970
The only meet I remember, I had to compete on the uneven bars (with “rippers” on my palms), and on the horse, which terrified me. “You can do it,” Mrs. Laptad encouraged me, so I stood. (Quavered.) Ran…and fell over the horse, for which I was awarded a 2.25.
I was happy about that score, and amazed that the judges awarded any points at all for falling over the apparatus. I was afraid, but I tried.
If you are always trying to be normal,
you will never know how amazing you can be.
Once, when I was substituting in a classroom, the little kids gathered around me, gazing at the marks on my hands. A daring child traced the veins with a finger, and they ooed and ahhed over the tendons (ligaments? bones?) beneath the skin. What was normal for me amazed those students.
As I sit here drinking apple juice with protein powder mixed into it, I don’t feel very amazing now. I feel fat. I’ve never weighed more than 106 pounds my whole life, except for during pregnancies. This extra twenty pounds of swollen tissues is wearing me down.
I might hope I’m in the pre-chrysalis stage—still a fat little caterpillar waiting to be transformed. Except that we are already What We Are, divine spirits clothed in flesh. Angel wings and feet of clay?
What we focus on is what we get more of. So, shall we make time to imagine flying? Spreading our amazing wings and, in free flight, adding to the beauty of the world?