Rain. Water. Tears. Fears. Frustration. Anger. Clouds. Heaven?
Rain. Water. Tears. Fears. Frustration. Anger. Clouds. Heaven?
Justice, Peace and Love. That is what he was all about.
Nelson Mandela. A man I never met, but I am feeling the loss. All I can hope for is that he knows what his sacrifices meant to me.
And though I have vowed to help others, in any way that I can, my heart feels as if it needs to do more.
Tell me what to do. Tell me if I am falling short. Tell me what I am supposed to tell my neighbors.
The only solace that I can find in his passing is that my mother will have her chance to say hello. I imagine them sitting to talk and have tea. I imagine my mom putting gel from her aloe plant on his scrapes and bruises. I imagine her pulling out her pictures and telling him about her kids.
I imagine them becoming friends!
So here I share some of Mandela’s quotes. They are words that spoke to me. And so I share them with you. Read and share with your friends and loved ones.
And remember that we are all people, and should work together.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” – Nelson Mandela
Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation. – National Men`s March, 1997
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – 90th birthday celebration of Walter Sisulu, Walter Sisulu Hall, Johannesburg, 18 May 2002
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Long Walk to Freedom
The time is always right to do right. – Nelson Mandela, “The 100 Best Things Ever Said by Men” in South Africa’s Men’s Health magazine, February 2002
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both.
I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.
A few of my favorites.
So what are you thinking?
By Melissa Flynn
Life can be very messy. Life can be very hard. Life can be full of ups and downs. Regardless of all that, life is what you make of it. I have always told my son, “If you want something to happen, make it happen. Don’t sit around waiting for anything. Be proactive.”
I’ve recently been faced with some new trials. Don’t get me wrong; most of them I actually pushed on myself. I’m trying to make some things happen. That’s what I do. I’m not sure I know how to wait for someone else to do it. It’s just not what my mother taught me.
This economy, this election, this new world we live in are all reasons for me to keep trying. I have many questions, but I realize that it will take time to find all the solutions.
As I wait, I’m determined to do my part to help our society—to do my part to help our fellow man. Sounds a bit rehearsed, huh? I am serious though. I’m all about making lists, having goals and reaching for… Well, that last thing isn’t important. Regardless of our goals on paper, most of us have our mental list also. It can be a secret; no one has to know. Just be reaching for something.
I’m sounding off and thinking of my words from yesterday. And this time, I’m reminded of not one, but two blogs from the Cheshire Patch. So, for the last time this year, I’m sharing again. The two together may seem longer than my usual, but it’s really not that long. Be patient and read on. You might just agree with what I have to say. And feel free to comment, if I have provoked any feelings.
The Answer Lies in the Question
Posted on May 8, 2012 at 9:00 am
The cure for what ails us all is what? I don’t know about you, but every day I search for the answers to the world’s questions. Why are we all here? What is my purpose? What religion is the real one? Who decides who is right and who is wrong? Can we see what goes on once we are dead? Can people really talk to the dead? How can I get to talk to the dead?
I know you are all thinking that if she figured them out she wouldn’t really be sharing them on Cheshire Patch. Maybe that is right. And I definitely do not have the answers. I, like many others, have no clue what is going on. We are all in the dark together. No man has these answers.
I will tell you what I have figured out though.
Life is what we make it!
Sounds so cliché, huh? Oh well. It is the truth. So, if you are unhappy and don’t like your life’s direction, then do something to change it. Get up, get out and make something happen.
A few weeks ago, my 21 year old son was telling me that he can’t find a job. Okay. Is it that he can’t find any job? Or is it that he can’t find the job that he really wants.
Recently, I came across a quote about writing that rings true for many things in life.
“If there is a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison
“If there is a job that you really want that you can’t find, then create it.” Melissa Flynn
And as you fumble along in the dark trying to figure out how, share your story. That’s how we make the world a better place, by sharing what we figure out.
Reflections of Hope and Faith
Posted on January 27, 2012 at 9:50 am
Recently, I had an incident that shook my faith in people. Losing confidence in people and our society is not a complete rarity for me. And in the past couple of weeks, I realized that I should not allow this. I’m not going to share the specific experience with you all, but I will say that people can be cruel. Having said that, I believe we all possess a power within, and we must not allow anyone to steal it. You decide how you see the world – how you approach its trials and tribulations. And with this particular incident, my vision was blurred – not by choice, of course, but hurt can do that to you.
Honestly, for a while I was numb. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. And believe it or not, I didn’t have anything to say. I was mad. I was sad. I wanted to
scream. I told a friend that I wanted to scream, but if I did, no one would hear me. She told me that seeing how close we live, “I might hear you from my house.”
She probably wouldn’t hear me, but it was a sweet thought. Just when my cynicism seemed tenable, someone reminded me that people aren’t all bad. Times are hard. And we are at a time where people are looking for answers. We all need a reason to have hope. I believe that knowledge yields hope. So, let’s continue to educate ourselves, and we will all grow together. Our nation is a melting pot, and
ignorance should no longer be allowed as an excuse. Instead of putting someone down, maybe have a conversation and see where they are coming from; you might just learn something.
We can’t grow if some of us are too busy enjoying life while others are fighting to survive. All people matter. No one human gets to define another. We all have stuff, but that stuff doesn’t define who we are and what we can do. So, wake up people and get off your tush, lend a neighbor a hand, don’t take what isn’t yours and realize that we will get further if we work together.
I know I sound a bit tough. That’s me – ‘tough love Melissa’. It’s something I picked up from my mom. “You fall; you get up and keep trying. You don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.” That was her thing. “I don’t ever wanna hear you say you can’t.” Her premature death convinced me further that life is short; take hold of it and make it your own.
We all have dreams and not all of us get to live our dream. Don’t let life pass you by. Get on the bus and go wherever you desire.
I, myself, figured out the key to my low moments. My cure is time. I just have to remember that I do have aspirations; I’m either inspired to do something or I’m not. I am. So, I do.
No matter how much I’m pushed, I am going to push back hard and keep teaching me. There will always be ups and downs in life. Don’t let life get you down.
And I leave you with the words of the late, great John F. Kennedy. “Let us think of
education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”
Let us think of my words as a means to the end. Read. Share. And then let’s get started. Remember, Melissa and moving on are synonymous.
Smiling As I Usually Am
I’ve had my surgery. Ouch! Is the pain really supposed to be this bad? I thought they fixed it. Don’t mind me. Whenever I have surgery, I want the instant relief. Nothing in life works that way, but a girl can dream. It’s been over four weeks, and I know I have a long way to go. It’s just really hard not having the use of both arms.
This seems like a good time to share some things with you. I’m somewhat of an inspirational blogger on Cheshire.patch.com. So, for the next few posts, I’ll share my favorites from The Patch.
Feel free to tell me what you think. And if you dare, share a related story.
I share this favorite first because I need to be reminded of how far I have come since that day in Marshalls. These thoughts still apply and the remembrance will help me survive my recovery process – which I loathe. Recovery is not fun.
In Reaching Distance
Posted on September 10, 2011 at 7:02 pm
During a few conversations with acquaintances and an editor, I was told, “why not consider being a motivational speaker or a life coach.”
I immediately thought, “Me?” What could I possibly offer someone, in terms of advice that is? Then I began to listen to myself as I spoke to friends and family. That’s when it hit me. I am a hopeful, inspirational voice in my circle.
So, now (in this blog) I venture out to share this voice with all that will listen – or read.
I’m a single mother of an estranged 20-year-old son, a displaced worker and a somewhat educated unmarried freelance writer. And yet, I am vehemently optimistic about my future. I have my bad days, like we all do. But most days, my goal is not to let the negative things in my life burden me to the point of insanity.
It’s all in the approach – the outlook. Regardless of where I am in my life, I do have a goal – a well laid out plan of attack. And each day, I awake with enthusiasm. Okay, maybe enthusiasm is too strong of a word. How about a determination?
I am determined to matter. I am determined to be happy and make my stand. How I do that is all in the attentiveness of my actions. Something as simple as coming up with a plan and executing it, whether or not I ultimately reach my goal, can be a useful tool in combating bleak outlooks.
Looking back to a conversation with one of my acquaintances, my advice was pretty sound and clear. For putting it on paper’s sake, let’s call her Lisa.
Trying to find that perfect interview top or just something for every day, Lisa and I comb through Marshall’s clearance section, all the while hoping that nothing fits because we can’t afford it anyway. As we both reach the middle of the aisle, she starts telling me of all her unrewarded job efforts.
Being over 50, unemployed and seeing the constant news of layoffs, Lisa was feeling hopeless. “This is the first time in my life that I wasn’t able to find a job right away. I always wanted to be an artist growing up. My dad said I had to do something practical – like accounting. So, I listened to him. Now look where I am.”
As I looked at her in all her despair, I smiled and said, “life will get better for you.” As she looked back at me, probably thinking “is she crazy”, I continued to tell her, “You can only do what you can – no more. So find some balance in your life. Get up every day, spend some of your day looking for a job (internet, library, newspapers, phone calls, etc.) and then spend part of your day only doing things you enjoy. Let these things include: books by favorite authors, going back to school, volunteering, favorite TV shows, relaxing, fun exercises, time alone, time with friends, etc. Our economy seems hopeless, but that you can’t fix. A lot of people are in the same position. Look at this time in your life as a time of rediscovery. You can be whoever you want to be.”
I look at it this way: we all have dreams of what we would love to be doing in life. And, unless that includes being superman or wonder woman, I’m pretty sure they are obtainable. So, stay true to yourself and the dreams you once had and go for it. Maybe even put up a few post-it notes around the house: I have many talents, we are all good at something, I’m gonna take a chance on me, my life is still unfolding, I still have time, I can succeed, etc.
It’s all about vision. As someone once said, “Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible.”
So, no more “same old routine.” It’s time to make a list. What are you good at? What do you want to do in life? What can you work on right now?
Then every day, from now until infinity, let’s start checking things off that list.
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