Monday, December 20, 2010

Beautiful stories to end a week

This past Friday I happened across two completely unrelated stories that were just the perfect way to end a week (or start a week since you won't be reading this until the beginning of the week!). Both were uplifting, perhaps because they were in such stark contrast to the often overwhelming troubles and sadness in the world. They each spoke of the pure joy that comes by helping others, by understanding that all people have troubles, that all of us are dying even if we have not received a "terminal" diagnosis, and therefore we should not be waiting to live our life until ________ whatever, fill in the blank for yourself, but to make the most of today.

First, I learned from an oncology dietitian colleague about an organization called The Ceres Community Project in Sonoma County California that provides healing foods, actually entire meals, made with locally-grown organic foods to individuals (and their family) with a life-threatening illness completely free of charge for three months. Although it will take a few minutes of your time, I think you will find watching the video on their website explaining their mission to be both heart-warming and inspiring. The model this non-profit organization has developed by having teens prepare the meals provides love and hope for the future throughout their community in many different ways. Does anyone know of other communities that have a non-profit organization like this?

Second, during the 10 minutes in the car Friday evening between our farm and home, I was lucky enough to hear the following interview on NPR with Gordon Murray, author of the book The Investment Answer. The "hook" to this piece for me was not the investment advice per se, but the fact that the author chose to write the book after his diagnosis with glioblastoma, a brain tumor with the shortest prognosis.  I'll be frank, I had already read about Mr. Murray and his book earlier in the week in the New York Times, and that article did not stay with me in the same way as this live interview on NPR did.  In fact, even the written synopsis of the interview at the NPR link does not convey the full depth of empathy and compassion or the lasting connection I felt when listening to Mr. Murray speak. He speaks candidly and honestly about his cancer diagnosis and the choices he has made of how to live those unknown but certainly short number of days after his diagnosis.

One of the recipients for the Ceres Community Project states in the video that the healthy and lovingly-prepared meals certainly has very likely added "years to her life". Although not stating so in these exact words, my guess is that working so deliberately and lovingly to get this book to print before his death has also added time to Mr. Murray's life, with the bonus that intentionally working on this book to help others may have also added "life to his years".

I only recently read a quote attributed to Anne Frank, author of A Diary of a Young Girl, the classic book that is up-lifting but also heart-breaking:

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment 
before starting to improve the world.”
~~ Anne Frank (1929-1945)

Being aware of her uncertain outcome while in hiding during World War II because her family was Jewish had to be similar to living with a cancer diagnosis, being confronted with and coming to understand and accept the unfairness, suffering, and fragility of life plus also actively choosing to see  life's beauty while looking forward with hope to the day that she could re-join the world. However, the truly inspiring aspect of Anne's life is that she did not wait to re-join the world to start 'improving it'. She only had today to live and to write. She would never know how her writing would spread the ripples from her spirit and her dreams throughout the world over the next several generations.

All of these people are shining examples of the quotation that I used to begin this blog back in June 2007:

"No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing 
because he could only do a little"

~~ Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

My husband and I finally need to put down the hammers and paintbrushes to start baking, finish shopping, wrapping gifts, get our tree, oh dear, the list of things to do is very long! I'll come back to blogging in 2011. Until then, I send all my readers best wishes for a joyful holiday season, a hopeful new year, along with hope that you will find these stories as inspirational as I have. 

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


lookinout said...

All the best to you as well, and thanks for the stories.

Elaine said...

Peace & joy to you, Diana. I hope you have a lovely and restful Holiday Season with family and friends.

Thank you for sharing these inspirational stories. Now that I have a bit of break from work (4 days, hurrah) I will take time to listen to them. I appeciate your thoughtful commentary on them, too. It will enrich my listening.

All the best to you & your family in the New Year. Yes, may it be hope-full.

jovaliquilts said...

Just discovered your blog! So wonderful to read though -- and I LOVE the kale blog! The farm must be wonderful. So nice to catch up through reading these, and I hear your cheery voice saying every word.

Elaine said...

Stopping by to wish you a very happy, healthy New Year and thank you for your friendship in 2010. It was one of the highlights of a very rich old year.