We Are Not Alone: Wisdom of the Elders

During this time of isolation, we are sharing prayers, poems, inspirational music, videos and quotes that uplift our spirits in a special email newsletter each Tuesday. Here is an excerpt from our Jun 1st edition.

Wisdom of the Elders

In a time when our world has been shaken by Covid, and we have stopped to reflect on what really matters, we turn to the wise people in our midst and listen to what they have to say. We have so many in our ESG community. Here are words of “wisdom, wit, and wonder” (coined by Roberta McWhirter) from some of them.

Geegee Mills
As a member of WWIT (Wise Women in Training), it feels a bit presumptuous to offer any words of wisdom, as I am still in the learning mode!  And I think it also holds true that the older we get the less we know, because we have learned how vastly the questions outweigh the answers in this multi-layered universe we are privileged to be passing through.
Nevertheless, if I were to offer any words of wisdom on the personal level, I think it would be Don’t Judge.  One can’t possibly know what goes into a choice someone else makes. And how important it is to keep the Big Picture in mind.  What is it we are hoping for in the long run?  That question cuts right through the need to punish for slights real or imagined, what is fair or not fair, wise or foolish.
The best support we can offer is to Just Listen!  And be trustworthy, fiercely protective, of any confidences one is privileged to receive from another.
I have a poster on my wall of a very long train going by, with a little boy waiting and waiting to cross the tracks.  Its caption is “This Too Shall Pass”.  That’s the Big Picture that I am reminded of when things get tough, like now, with all that Covid is denying us.  This Too Shall Pass!!

Florence Newman
This exercise of reflection seems like a view from space! One sees so much – the earth in its entirety – yet the fine details are hidden.
I can look back on my life as a whole, but I can also see the particulars – the ups and the downs, the peaks and the valleys, the joys and the sorrows. Yet the resounding and recurring image for me is that, through it all, I have not been alone. My family has stood with me. My friends have stood with me. And my faith has assured me that God is with me, wherever I go.
So, I would say to youth and those beginning life’s journey, it is important to foster your own community. Keep in touch with your family and friends. Be kind to and tolerant of your colleagues. Show compassion and care for those in need. And the community you build will ensure that you do not walk your life journey alone.

Betty Heininger
My father occasionally travelled overnight for business. One time he returned only to discover his wallet was missing. My three siblings and I were very upset by this, yet I can still remember where I was standing when Dad told us, ‘Things don’t matter; People do.’ 
It was true then many years ago and is still true today. Always value the people in your life!
P.S. The wallet was returned.

Roberta McWhirter
My basic premise is that my life is a trust and with trust comes the responsibility to live my life in honour of that trust.
Strive for balance by actively seeking the beauty and wonder to be found – in nature, in music, in dance and all art forms, in colour, in other people and in yourself. 
Be diligent in maintaining a sense of humour. I’m absolutely certain that absurdity and time to play is part of God’s plan! Be ye truly grateful and humble.
It is when that strongly critical voice from within sends my ‘better self’ into hiatus and I retreat into melancholy and despair, that I can still bring into focus how abundantly blessed I am to have a small but loving family; good health; a few nurturing friendships; the ESG community – and be reassured that indeed I am not alone. Thanks be to God.
The most prominent magnet on my ‘fridge door says ‘KINDNESS MATTERS’. I believe that to be so true. Be kind and refrain from taking yourself too seriously.
Indeed, as the song says ‘What the world needs now is love, sweet love – that’s the only thing that there’s just too little of”. Gentleness is a first cousin of kindness.

Kay McKellar
I’ve been very blessed during my life  – some would call it good luck.
I’ve had a great deal of love always from family and friends – which to me is most important.
I’ve always been given freedom to make my own decisions (and given good guidance to do so).
My religious training from the time I was young stressed that we should not just live for ourselves but help those who are less fortunate.
This was reinforced by my grandparents who were missionaries in China for many years.
In the words of Ella Wheeler Wilcox –  “Tis the set of the sails/ and not the gales that tells (us) the way to go.”

Barb Lemmon
“I believe in kindness” stated June Callwood – Canadian journalist, author, activist and humanitarian – in a CBC interview two months before she died in 2007.
So do I.   In fact, I believe kindness has the power to change the world!  This conviction has been strengthened by the many demonstrations of kindness worldwide that I have read about, and some of which I have personally witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kindness is a builder of bridges, a healer of wounds, a soother of souls and a bearer of joy. It can be practiced by anyone regardless of age, race, nationality, beliefs, gender, social status or level of education.  Kindness costs nothing and benefits both the giver and receiver.
Throughout my life I have been blessed by many acts of kindness, and on each occasion, it has lifted my spirits and brightened my outlook. It has also inspired me to do the same for others, creating a ripple effect.  Even the most simple act of kindness conveys the message “I see you. You have value. I care.” 
We cannot all make the extraordinary humanitarian impact that June Callwood did in her lifetime.  But each one of us, in our own individual way, can incorporate kindness into our way of being and thereby change the world one small step at a time.

Nora Wilson
Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes and say “sorry”.  It’s very freeing and a gift to yourself.
When you feel helpless, look for ways to empower yourself:  we almost always have choices..
If you are wondering whether to reach out to someone, or give them a hug, DO IT!  There can never be too much love in our world!

Thank you wise women for sharing a part of yourselves with us. We are blessed to have you in our ESG family.

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