September 23, 2018

Unstoppable: 3 Examples, part 4

“The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.”-- Habakkuk 3:19 (KJV)

Empowerment is more critical than ever in this hectic time. So many voices combine to show us the darkest places in the world, and in ourselves. For that reason, everyone needs to grab a ray of hope when and where they can.

This is my fourth article on Biblical and historical females who beat the odds. Please see the other writings here, here, and here.

Mary Magdalene

There are many theories about her place in Jesus’ life. It’s beyond the scope of this article to explore them. The Bible only shows us that she was the most prominent female disciple.

She was in His inner circle. Mary even followed Jesus into the dangerous region of Galilee--where Herod ruled. She continually put herself in harm’s way, the same as any male follower of Christ.

Mary Magdalene may also have been the “Mary” to whom Christ first appeared post-Resurrection. That event would bump up the lady’s importance.

U.S. First Ladies (President’s wives)

Women in this position need amazing determination and resilience.  They stand by the side of some of the world’s top leaders. These trailblazers somehow find the energy to follow their own passion. Many are activists and politicians in their own right.

The rest of this writing will focus on the wives of two recent Presidents. Following those accounts, please read the poem below written by my sister, Roz Udall. This is her first try at poetry, which can be tricky, but she did a wonderful job. She has never been intimidated by difficulties before, and she’s not going to start now!

 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (Jackie O.)--July 28, 1929-May 19, 1994
Wife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK), 35th President of the United States
She set the bar high for sophistication. Her husband was busy battling the spread of communism. His personal life was also far from perfect. Jackie must have felt consistently disrespected and neglected. What did this classy lady do?
  • Didn’t gossip to the media
  • Kept her fashion-icon image, which has survived over five decades

Mrs. Kennedy showed the country how to put on a brave face and weather storms. Her inner strength could not be dimmed. That’s an important lesson to pass on.

Betty Ford--April 18, 1918-July 8, 2011
Wife of Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States
Betty was the opposite of Jackie. She wouldn’t stay quiet about anything. She was more open than any other First Lady. Mrs. Ford championed many hot-button social issues, especially those relevant to women.
This President’s wife opened up about her own breast cancer, addiction, and substance abuse. She used her own brokenness to advocate for others. The brave lady founded and chaired the Betty Ford Center for substance abuse and addiction. This clinic is still in operation.
 Royal Palm Tree, “little slice of paradise!”
Prestigious, towering above the crowd, requires full sun.
Shallow roots won’t break through roads or sidewalks.

Currant Bush. Medium size shrub with versatile berries:
Piquant, glossy, sweet-savory,
salads-desserts, cordial, champagne
Must be severely pruned and dunged.

Jackie-O was like a royal palm tree,
lithe, beautiful, towering above all,
 limned with sunlight, elegance personified.

Channel, Cassini, and matching accessories.
Handsome, powerful husband; beautiful children.
White house redone as a reflection of her perfection.
Camelot they described her kingdom.
We all wanted to be Jackie.

Later foraging behind the facade revealed hidden pain,
betrayal, infidelity, ladies in waiting, plotting, jealousy, death.

Stagecraft: shallow, non-invasive root system

Betty was a currant bush grown tall and woody, berry-less.
Susceptible to disease, withering in dry soil, out of her element.
Retreating into forgetfulness.
Pain seared.
Children raised by others; embarrassed by her pathos.
Husband escaping through Presidential duties.
Dick and Don demanding a tree, did not appreciate currant berries,
expected smiles and nods.
Trying to comply, she had grown into a tall and woody bush.
Tall like a tree, but missing its richness, its fecundity.

Pruned and fertilized,
Betty, the First Lady, became fruitful, plucky.

She spoke aloud:
BREAST cancer.
She would not be silenced.
Her ripening fruit produced a political constituency:
“Keep Betty in the White House.”

BREASTS became more than thinly concealed sex objects.
Mammograms became widespread.
Depression less frightening,
Addictions less scornful.

 Jackie sensed the slavering wolves waiting outside her door.
She grew tall and aloof to keep them at bay.

Betty invited the wolves in, ran with them, became the Alpha wolf.

Regal palm or humble currant bush?
Appearances can be deceiving.
Jackie’s image was calculated to be legendary.
Betty’s candor was unwittingly revolutionary.

Perfection and confession
continuing their implacable engagement on social media.
Let history be the judge.
By Roz Udall

My Conclusion

Some people serve others by sharing lessons gained from their challenges. Others are more reserved; they demonstrate strength in silence. The strongest individuals refuse to stay in the tiny boxes society attempts to force on all of us.

There are many ways to go against the norm. Boundaries can be broken with any number of tools.

Related Posts

How have you moved forward through pain?

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