Sunday, June 16, 2024





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My mother was a delicate pretty woman who played the flute and was quietly artistic. She married a dark haired handsome man, a seeker of thrills who would be my father.

The two of them looked like movie stars. But my mother was ill and my father an alcoholic.

She died when I was five and my father was rarely present after that. My reaction was bewilderment.

I just stopped talking and withdrew. Sitting in my elementary school classroom, I gazed out the window wishing I was far away - somewhere, anywhere else.

After school I waited for my father to come pick me up. I sat outside after school until the door was closed and everyone had left for the day.

After my mother’s death, he simply stopped coming for me.

When the sun was low in the sky and it started getting dark, I began the long walk home.

Home was now a violent place and I became a disheveled child with uncombed hair, untied shoes and dirty dresses. Bruises and cut lips I explained as bike or playground accidents.

One day I discovered a room I had never seen before. At the top of the stairs was the school library. The floor was old smooth wood. The room was cool and well lighted. There were long rows of books, that seemed to go on forever, more than I had ever seen. Plants gently swayed in the breeze from the open windows where the sun shone in.

A kind woman who wore her hair up and glasses on the tip of her nose, sat behind the desk. She was the elementary school librarian.

My saving grace.

She introduced me to far away places, new possibilities and fascinating people through the magic of the written word: all in that small ordinary elementary school library.

At the top row of the shelves was a series of slim blue books, biographies of famous people. Inventors, writers, poets and their personal stories. Stories of how they overcame hardship, failure and challenges, changing their lives and the lives of others.

I still recall the smell, the magical feeling of that place and the kind patience of the librarian.

I checked books out constantly. Two at a time at first, then three and then four. Non fiction and then fiction and mysteries. If I had any money I spent it buying...books. Books became my friends. My guidance, my relief and my support.

When hope is desperately needed, often that is exactly when inspiration reveals itself.

When we are most challenged, when odds are surely not in our favor, and we are certain we are facing a dead end….surprisingly, it is then you are totally and completely qualified for amazing discoveries such as I found in a school library. An unexpected, loving and benevolent force reaches out to you.

At this very intersection of life, the stars may align, and a fairy tale may come true.

At the end of our resources, is an opening that the universe will show up to fill. Many quit before it happens and so never get the lesson. Or receive the gift.

We must be open in heart, soul, spirit and mind. Realize that the world is beauty and darkness all at once. Darkness, like a large background, can overwhelm the small buds of hopeful dreams ready to emerge in the foreground.

Too much darkness, a single focus view, with little space for beauty is simply one of the rough edges of humanity’s lens.

It is our choice to look for and to seek out inspiration and then locate our particular message.

Your generation, station in life, or educational status are not the only criteria for success and happiness. Leave a little room for magic, and if you can manage it, leave a lot of room for the unexplained mystery and inherent goodness of life.

Most visionaries, inventors, and writers had to overcome resistance to their dreamy ideas. Resistance simply exists as a force – like gravity. Persevere. Because that is when it starts to get really good. Or a new idea is born. Ride the wave. Keep working on it. Pay attention.

JR Tolkien was a modest professor who found the time to create an entire mythical universe.

Maya Angelou overcame poverty and so much more. Her alone name speaks for itself.

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker was born in a poor coal mining town. Her career began out of necessity, instead of raw ambition. She and her brother learned to sing and dance to earn money for the family, until she got a role in New York. Eventually – Sex In The City.

Sometimes in an unexplained moment or a sudden spark of insight, we humans literally make something out of nothing.

JK Rowling was living on public assistance, a single parent who had considered suicide. One day she was sitting on a train, thinking of nothing, completely blank. In her mind’s eye a young boy appeared. She realized he was a wizard, but he didn’t know he was. She wrote her stories backwards from there. Rowling says she will always be thankful to the boy she met on the train since it was he who provided security for her family.

Billy Gardell was an out of work actor. He left his wife and children at home to audition for work. Nothing but rejection. One day his wife called saying “Do NOT go to the ATM. We have $7.45 in the account.” Billy said “That’s it. I’m going home and I’m going to take a regular job.” He went to one more audition and became a cast member of the television show “Mike and Molly”. His career began at the exact time he decided to quit.

Anthony Ray Hinton, falsely accused and convicted of murder walked out of prison after thirty five years on Death Row. He was one of the longest serving death row prisoners in history.

Bryan Stevenson, widely acclaimed public interest lawyer and founder of Equal Justice Initiative took Anthony’s case. Bryan worked with Anthony’s case for sixteen years; until he was exonerated and released. Anthony was free but he had a lot of catching up to do. He had never heard of GPS, cell phones, or ATMs.

He said “I just never believed God would let me die for something I didn’t do. I didn’t know how he would work it out, but I believed he would work it out.”

He said he is not angry. “They took a lot of years of my life. I cannot afford to give them anything else. And being angry would be letting them win. I’m a person who loves to smile. How can I smile when I’m full of hate? I count every day as a joy.”

We know that bad things happen to good people, that the world contains harsh injustice, inequality, pain and suffering. This is part of the contrast of life. None are exempt.

Maybe that is why the Bible suggests “ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ” Philippians 4:8.

The ability to find inspiration in hard times is present in everyone, if willingly engaged. We find it builds confidence, enhances character, increases resilience and self reliance. As Einstein said “It’s not that I am so smart. I just stay with problems longer.”

Cultivate a sense of balance in the composition of your life. Choose your focus carefully and examine your position frequently for imbalance, since imbalance tends to creep back in if you don’t pay attention.

The world will not break you.

Beauty and inspiration are waiting for you.

Do you see it?

It's right over there. Just between the darkness and the dawn.

Posted in: Spirituality, Inner Guidance, Intuition, Motivational, Self-Improvement, Tallkat, Love | Tags: Maya Angelou , Sarah Jessica Parkier , JK Rowling , JR Tolkien , Anthony Ray Hinton , Bryan Stevenson , Inspiration , Beauty , Tallkat | Comments (0) | View Count: (3872)

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Copyright 2013 by Karen "Tallkat" Conley