Saturday, June 11, 2011

Graceful Tenacity

There are moments in life – terrible blunders when our human frailty becomes painfully evident – moments when shame jumps from behind a blind corner, surprising us, knocking us off balance.

We feel exposed. I feel exposed.

In each terrifying moment of exposure, I want to slink away in noncommittal silence, skulk in a dark post-blunder storm cloud of my own making, go over and over and over each moment re-experiencing every second of shame, regretting each step on my path, worrying what the elusive conglomeration they might think.

My heroines are survivors of public exposure, women who refused to slink and skulk; women who embraced their human dignity amid the swirling frenzied feeding of a media culture.

In 1983, when Vanessa Lynn Williams was crowned Miss America, I was just days from giving birth to my daughter. In July 1984 when she resigned, I was newly pregnant with my son. While my children attended college, Vanessa Lynn Williams delivered the convocation address to her College of Visual and Performing Arts graduating class at Syracuse University, her life and her words “…cherish the moment; these days are irreplaceable...” revealed an inner strength, a grace-filled life that moved my heart.

In 1993, as our new First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped outside societal expectations to lead healthcare reform, she inspired me to think beyond my immediate family, my small midwestern life. In 1998, as she weathered the storm surrounding her husband and the White House aid with the blue dress, Hillary Rodham Clinton became my heroine. I glimpsed within her a passionate faith that moved my heart.

When shame jumps from behind a blind corner, knocking me off balance, what will I do? Will I choose commitment over silence, passionate belief over speculation, graceful tenacity over regret? Will I take a breath and stand my ground, in the moment, in the fear?

My dream? I passionately want each and every woman to discover her purpose in life, reach for the best on her journey.

My task? I will listen as my sister tells her story. I will honor her vulnerability. I will celebrate her courage. I will treasure her tears.

I will lay down my masks. I will face my own fears. I will take a breath and stand my ground. I will choose my passionate belief over public speculation. I will ask God to wipe away the ruins of regret and replenish me with grace and tenacity, innocence and acuity.

I will be an Encourager, a speaker and writer of words – quiet, grace-filled, life-affirming words.

Fear by Lachlan Cotter
These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. – Ralph Waldo Emerson Is fear holding you back from living your fullest life and being truly self expressed? Put yourself in the shoes of the you who’s already lived your dream and write out the answers to the following: Is the insecurity you’re defending worth the dream you’ll never realize? or the love you’ll never venture? or the joy you’ll never feel? Will the blunder matter in 10 years? Or 10 weeks? Or 10 days? Or 10 minutes? Can you be happy being anything less than who you really are? Now Do. The Thing. You Fear. (Author: Lachlan Cotter)

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