Jenny's wonderful story about her Mother reminded me of a story about my Paternal grandmother.
She was as "hard-baked" as they come. Sixth-grade education, married very young and then widowed by the first world war. Remarried and divorced years later. With no money or job she spent the last 15 years of her life living alone in a single wide trailer in Garden Grove, Calif with a view of the Disneyland Matterhorn from her front steps.
She was "rough" and toughened from years of being a camp cook, single parent and the only woman in several logging camps and on cattle ranches in northern California. She could cuss with the best, drove a team of horses by age six and a tractor by age eight. She also loved to tell stories in a matter-of-fact way about shooting her "kitchen gun" through the open back door and bagging any stray bird or critter that wandered in to her garden. She was also honest, loving and a source of great support and care for me growing up. And I never, not once, heard her complain about her life or even wish for something more than she had.
After my son was born she came to visit us ..well actually she came to see her only Great grandchild. One day she and I were out driving to get groceries and I was a little agitated as she drove the highways letting car, after car, after car cut in front of us. I wrote it off to her advanced age and diminished driving abilities. I was provoked to ask why she was being so nice...didn't she know it was just slowing us down?
After I was done ranting she paused for a long minute and looking straight ahead and in a very warm and loving voice said "Because that's how I want to be treated!"
That moment still lives brightly in me. I hear her voice all the time and it guides me in my daily interactions with others. It reminds me to slow down and act kindly to others because I need to "be" the change I want see in the world.
Recently I was driving with a young friend who was a bit critical of my letting others "barge" in to the lane in front of our car. I turned to him and in the best "grandmother" voice I could muster responded to his inquiry with; "I do that because that's how I want to be treated!"
I hope he passes that on to the next generation!
Each of us can be a source of wisdom, support, care and inspiration everyday to those around us. We may not even know it though. Let your real self shine and enjoy each moment.....Just because that's the kind of world we want to live in!!