Mom, Dad, my brother, and I
at the Swope Park Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1939.
During December, I have been posting about gratitude. I’ve saved the best for this last Sunday of 2017. This past year has been somewhat difficult for me. However, friends and family members have generously helped me with the gift of phone conversations, blog postings and comments, or chatting while riding to doctor appointments, shopping sprees, and restaurants. All of this meeting—via phone or presence or blogs—helped me let go of my own self-absorption.
I am deeply grateful also to Julian of Norwich, a 14th century mystic, who said, “And all shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be exceedingly well.” While sometimes my belief that all shall be well has dimmed, mostly I have been able to stay positive about my life. Julian has been a true friend to me.
For all family members, friends, and bloggers, I am deeply grateful.
In the remainder of this post, I’m going to look to the past and mention others who have helped me become who I am today. I’ll begin with those who raised me, especially my mom and dad. They always said, “Dolores, you can do anything you put your mind to.” They never dismissed the hopes and dreams I had for my future.
Mom frequently said, “Dolores, you find what you look for. If you look for good, you will find it. And if you look for bad, you will surely find that too.” Those words are the foundation of my whole approach to life. They keep me positive. Only when I don’t get enough sleep or enough socializing do I sink into self-pity and self-absorption and forget Mom’s words and Julian’s.
My brother, too, taught me while we were growing up and when we were young adults. One day after he'd married, he talked to me in his garage and encouraged me to enjoy the present moment and not to always worry about the future. He has been and is a blessing in my life.
I also remember today my Aunt Dorothy who had a satisfying career as a single woman in the mid-twentieth century. She became the model for me. I remember, too, my Great-Aunt Pearl and my Great-Uncle Clarence. Content with their lives, their simplicity spoke to me even when I was a child. They helped me understand that “less is more.”
As to those who educated me, I could mention every teacher’s name here. The two I most remember from grade and high school are 1) Sister Mary Lee, who incited in me a love of poetry, and 2) Sister Mary Edith, who made Latin exciting.
I want to mention three college professors who taught me as much by example as by instruction: 1) Sister John Marie: Her teaching ability influenced me when I, too, became a teacher. 2) Sister Juanita: Ancient Greece enthralled her. She passed that on to me and I’m writing a novel about Bronze-Age Greece. 3) Sister Jeannette: Her generosity of spirit filled me with awe.
I was fortunate also in the women and men who taught me in grad school. Professor Sibley stands out because he stressed ways to look for the peace-filled possibilities to every situation.
Now to all those who befriended me during my life. I am so fortunate in my friends but I want to mention one especially—Yvette. She saw me through the eighteen terrorizing months of my progressive and intractable Meniere’s Disease. We spoke each day so that she could be sure I hadn’t fallen and injured myself. In a real way, she kept me alive.
I am grateful to all those who raised me, taught me, and befriended me in the past. They helped me become who I am today: a contented woman with a passion for writing and a spirit filled with gratitude for the wonder of all of you who have touched my life with goodness. And . . . a woman who is deeply grateful for the unconditional love of cats with whom she has lived.