Three women and their words inspired my young-woman’s heart to act and speak in the most positive of manner. Not that I’ve mastered grace and gilded speech—my tongue still licks the gutter and I harbor what’s called an Irish temper.
Marie, Greta and Twyla never wrote a book, headlines never bore their names, and columnists didn’t discuss their behavior. Yet these ordinary women were extraordinary and personally influential.
Marie was my godmother. She demonstrated professionalism in business. Most comfortable in her business suit, heels and coiffed hair, Marie could also slide into a pair of jeans and a flannel shirt and mop up a barn. Besides understanding that business is business and conduct one’s self in that manner, she also reminded me “Say the Rosary, it will make you feel better.” She knew I no longer practiced Catholicism, but she was correct in noting that practiced recitation in honor of Mary calms the soul.
When Marie died, it shocked me to learn that she was 89-years-old. She would never reveal her age. We thought she was in her late 60s, maybe early 70s. Why? Marie was short but stood tall and straight. She didn’t complain even during her personally dark hours. She took positive action, moved forward, then prayed—even when she had the right to curse and condemn.
Fortunately, Marie had her flaws making her very, very real.
Greta was golden. After my first husband’s death, serendipity returned me to a philanthropic non-profit organization that Greta led. Greta worked the non-profits she supported. One easily found her in the trenches organizing, setting up, and schmoozing for charity. While her husband was maybe one of the most successful and powerful businessmen in the community, Greta appeared to not fall for the trappings of success and wealth. She didn’t arrive to meetings and events in the latest model German luxury car, but drove an older model Chevy instead.
A woman who served, along with me, on Greta’s planning committee for a big dollar fundraiser queried, “Greta, my darling, why don’t you go buy yourself a decent vehicle?”
Greta adjusted her plain skirt as she took her place at the meeting table and replied, “I love that old Chevy. It reminds me of how hard we (her husband and her) worked to get where we are now. We weren’t born into money and we feel blessed that our efforts have given us so much.”
At the time, I was an “up and comer.” Greta eagerly tutored me about our responsibility to serve without expected glory, to give without expectations, and behave compassionately and with grace.
A vicious cancer took Greta away from us less than three years after I met her.
Twyla was legally blind, but she saw everything—and probably with more clarity than the sighted. More than one tragedy colored Twyla’s life, but her spiritual sense and exploration helped her craft sixteen lessons about life, the spirit and the word.
Twyla actually was famous at one time. I was told she was Hollywood’s “Physic to the Stars.” She’d never tell anyone that because her sensibility was so fragile that she retired to a quiet corner of the desert where she could reflect and think without intrusive noise.
Hollywood had long forgotten Twyla when I met her. Oh, yes, she had the gift and one felt it the moment she tried to tip-toe into a room. I said, “tip-toe.” She did not want attention. She did not want glory. She would not want 3,000 Facebook friends!
But she would want us to speak in positive ways because if we spoke differently, then less than positive results take hold. “Our words and thoughts craft the physical result,” she said. In other words, a chair’s design is first created in the thought world and then brought into the physical. This, Twyla, taught, is how all things manifest—either positive or not.
If Sarah, Sharron and Michele are the new feminists, then feminism has lost its way. Marie, Greta and Twyla were born long before the writing of The Feminine Mystique and the Second Sex. But each practiced feminist principles with grace.
Grace is not a woman here, it is a lost art. Women are powerful beasts, indeed. And when we lace our language with violent synonymous words we mother the likes of the weak minds who take these words and manifest them into the physical.
God bless the victims of January 8, 2011.
Here’s Bachmann in a 2009 radio interview, talking about the cap and trade bill that was under debate in the House at that time:
I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people—we the people—are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.