DH = Dear Husband
It’s been a week of inspiration.
Monday evening, I had the privilege of joining ten students and some staff from our school in a viewing of Girl Rising. The film features nine girls from nine different parts of the world who struggle against staggering odds to get an education. As stated on the website, “Girl Rising showcases the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change the world.” It is beautiful visually, and although its subject matter is often so bleak, we all left the event warm with hope. I had the chance to talk at length with one of our students whose experience shed light upon the fact that girls face obstacles to education not only in faraway places, but at home too. “Miss, I want to do something,” said another student, trying her best to express the spark that had been lit in her. Me too.
Wednesday evening, I joined a small group of teachers and other supporters of schools in our board for a dinner with Eva Olsson, speaker and holocaust survivor. In her early seventies, after decades of keeping silent on the topic of Nazi atrocities, Eva was confronted by the questions of her earnest and beloved young grandson. She broke through her silence and opened up. Today, over ten years later, she continues to answer the questions of students, school staff, and community members as she shares the nightmare of her experience and urges us not to be passive bystanders in the face of injustice, but to stand up to bullies. And her choice to forgive is nothing less than monumental, her abundant life its most poignant testimony. “I hope I will see you again before I get old,” she joked with me over dinner. Dr. Olsson is eighty-eight years old. “I’ll be back in November.”
Friday afternoon, we hosted Ivan Coyote, writer and storyteller, in our school library. It was decidedly ground-breaking, and although I eagerly looked forward to the presentation, I have to admit I was out of my comfort zone. I adopted the role of organizer-skittering-about-the-sidelines, making sure there were enough chairs; dealing with the noise coming from an adjoining office; leading the charge to put tables and chairs back in place afterwards. I can’t get my head around certain gender issues, but perhaps the point is that I don’t need to. Ivan is a great storyteller, and her words drew me in along with everyone else. Funny childhood mishaps; the oppressive anxiety brought on by high school mean-girls; devastating consequences of school bullying . . . There are no boundaries to these human experiences. The imperative of kindness is what lingered, along with many students who chose to stay in the space after the bell had rung and our guest had left. They do that when something great has happened.
It’s been the kind of week that leaves me wondering about life purpose – mine in particular. My journey out of debt has me focused upon things that are far from inspiring: We’re sticking to our grocery budget. High-five for us. I still haven’t submitted that receipt for my orthotics. Got to get on that. DH’s business has been slower this month. April might end up being another dry month for debt repayment, but the good news is that he has time to do his share of the house cleaning these days. I’d rather be out there confronting bullies, fighting injustice, and opening up the doors of opportunity for the underprivileged. And of course I have some margin of power to do all of the above already. I have to acknowledge though, the limitations that debt imposes upon my ability to give to and to devote time and energy to causes resonating with worthy purpose. It’s frustrating. And it’s mortifying to acknowledge that I am the root cause of these limitations.
Oh well. What did Oprah say again? “Do the next right thing.” Climb out of the hole. Step up to the next foothold. Reach for that ledge just a little higher up. This is the mundane work that over time creates a better picture. It’s the effort required to build a strong platform from which to launch into new purpose.