Looking around your home, do you have treasures that warm your heart and lift your spirits, as I do? Listening to Michael Enright's The Sunday Edition on CBC Radio 1 today sparked the idea for this month's topic, On Top of the World. It is also the caption on the special picture above, purchased from a local bookstore many years ago. Research led to learning that the artist was Henriёtte Ronner-Knip, best known for her animal paintings, especially cats. (1821-1909).
Reaching the top of the world - the North Pole, is what Barbara Hillary did on April 23, 2007, aged 75, following a bout with lung cancer. She was a retired nurse, wanted to do something and be surrounded by interesting people, and never forgot her mother's words from a very young age: Life doesn't owe you anything, Barbara; if you want something, get off your ass and work for it! So work for it she did, and after extensive research, diligent fund-raising, and rigorous training, completed her mission of being the first, and oldest, black woman to ski to the North Pole. She topped this on January 6, 2011, age 79, by reaching the South Pole. This spring, an international team of eleven women also reached the North Pole. Why? They wanted to share their story and inspire others. I was certainly inspired and attach a link to today's interview, so that you may be too.
Hillary believed it was important how we age, and concluded by saying that it was up to each individual, whatever their North or South Pole was, even if a little thing, to do it today in case unable to do it tomorrow. Certainly, attempting to ski to the North Pole is not for the faint of heart, nor for most of us, but should fear stop us from doing something we would like to do? A question I asked myself!
So next week I will be travelling to Alberta to attend a ministry conference. Part of the reason for the trip, albeit only an hour's plane journey, was by admitting that I had let fear stop me from travelling beyond my 'comfort boundary' since breaking my ankle two years ago, and going through the 'what ifs' around mobility and reluctance to consider assistance at the airport. Now my intention is, when communicating with you next month, to share highlights of having had a wonderful experience meeting with, and listening to inspiring speakers and music ... through climbing out of the 'what if' rut I had dug myself into!
Until then, continue to notice and enjoy the warm feelings that the treasures in your home give you. May you be surrounded with interesting people, and have the courage to reach your North Pole, however miniscule, depending on your energy and circumstances - and by asking for assistance, if need be. Then, acknowledge yourself ... you are braver than you ever knew, and a gift to your world.
Until next time, a hundred thousand blessings to you, from my heart to yours.
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada