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Nature’s Balm

Sharing words of inspiration during our time at home in April, National Poetry Month.

Walden Pond, Concord, MA

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water,
and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

An Angel Named Ginny

You never know where an angel may appear. I didn’t know what kind of reception I’d get for my memoir, Jimmy and Me. After publication, I spent a year promoting the book at local events and libraries and attending book club meetings.

My friend Peggy graciously hosted me at her book club near the town in Pennsylvania where I grew up. The 20 members gave me a warm reception and asked insightful questions.

A couple of months later, one member named Ginny contacted me to say she was an avid Philadelphia Flyers fan just like my dear brother Jimmy who has special needs. She asked for his address and said she wanted to send him hockey swag.

Shortly thereafter, Jimmy opened a box filled with Flyers t-shirts, hats, a signed puck, a variety of other goodies, and a personal note from Ginny. He called me to share his excitement and expressed a sense of wonder that someone he’s never met sent gifts related to his beloved Flyers.

I’m still in awe of the kindness of someone who came to know Jimmy only by reading about him. Never did I imagine my words would impact a reader who’d feel an urge to do something to bring my brother joy in his mid-60s.

Ginny’s selfless act reminds me why writing the book was worthwhile and it far surpasses any public recognition I could receive.

 

College in One Day

Imagine going to college without worrying about term papers or exams. You can do it like I did recently at One Day University.

Colleges around the country host professors from premier universities to speak about science, literature, history, art, and many other subjects. These award-winning professors consistently garner the highest ratings by students.

I attended a 4-hour program at Tufts University titled “A Day of Genius.” Three dynamic and captivating professors spoke about:

  • The Scientific Genius of Marie Curie
  • The Restless Genius of Benjamin Franklin
  • The Literary Genius of Shakespeare

The lectures were informational and entertaining and left me feeling energized.

If you seek educational enrichment, consider going to college for a day in a nearby city.

Celebrating Best Buddies

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Best Buddies International, a remarkable organization that unites volunteers and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) for one-on-one friendships. Their mission is to promote inclusive living through advocacy, employment, and personal and social relationships.

My daughters became Best Buddies in high school because they were inspired by the unique abilities of their uncle. Now in their twenties, I admire the compassion and patience they have for people with different abilities, and especially for my brother who enriches our family every day. Whether we’re working on a jigsaw puzzle together or chatting about golf, Jimmy reminds me how lucky I am to be his sister.

There are plenty of ways to get involved with Best Buddies. Find a program near you.

Jimmy is a wizard with jigsaw puzzles, showing deep concentration and persistence. He taught me to solve problems by looking at them from different angles.