Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday's Words for March 10, 2010

I recall a time when people were expected to do things. They were expected to hold jobs, to raise families, go to church, have hobbies, and give back to their communities in one form or another. Life wasn’t easy then, just as it’s not easy now. Let you in on a little secret, life isn’t supposed to be easy, period.

If something broke down you got it fixed, if something needed doing, you did it. You helped those less fortunate because you could, and because it was the right thing to do.

Then came the “me” generation, and society underwent a paradigm change. People began to focus, not on what they could give, but on what they could get. And if anything was difficult to do – be it a job or holding together a relationship – well, forget it. If it was hard, they were gone! I swear lately it seems as if a lot of people are plain and simply afraid of hard work, or getting their hands dirty, or of, perhaps, not succeeding first time out of the gate.

There are maxims that we used to hear, like “practice makes perfect” and, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.” We don’t hear those so much anymore. Instead, two words that seem to have worked their way to the top of the “spoken chart” are “I quit”.

I don’t believe in quitting, at least not at the first sign of trouble. Quitting is an absolute last resort for me, and represents, in my personal view, a failure. And I don’t believe in giving people a free ride, either.

I’m a big fan of personal empowerment. To put it bluntly, crap happens in varying degrees to all of us, and what matters most isn’t what happens to us but how we deal with it.

In any given month, I receive phone calls and snail mail appeals – as I’m sure all of you do – from various organizations and groups asking for money. There are many in need, and many different groups to which one may lend their support.

I tend to favour those groups who seek not so much a hand out as a hand up. One of those groups—my favourite, in fact—is the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists. I had Christmas cards left over from the Christmas of 2008, and only needed to purchase a few for this past holiday; those I purchased from MFPA.

For nearly fifty years, MFPA has provided an opportunity for these artists to support themselves, through sales of various items reproduced from their original paintings.

This group of talented people have taken the crap life has handed them and overcome it. Have you seen any of their work? MFPA is an international organization. Here is the Canadian web site, and you can link to other countries’ sites through it.:

Some of these artists were born without the use of their hands, and some suffered accidents or illness that took that use away from them. All found a way to achieve their dream of developing their talent to the max, to bring the art inside of them alive and through sheer determination and grit share it with the rest of us.

Look at the work these amazing people produce. Unless you knew the story behind their art, you’d have no idea there was anything special about the way that art was created. The paintings are beautiful in and of themselves.

Because these artists didn’t quit, because they refused to turn away from what was difficult, they were able to create a miracle.

They have made their disability disappear.


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