I grew up in the era of “Mad Men” where women were slowly coming into their own. It was the sexual revolution and women were screaming to be treated equally. I think back about that and I smile wondering how I would have went on through life if that wave had not rolled in. I had my grandmother as a role model and despite being a leader openly or more subtly, I think a woman could still influence in so many ways.
My maternal grandmother was the matriarch in our family; a strong and compassionate woman and midwife who had learned her profession from her mother and the village doctor; she was very religious saying the rosary every evening, going to Sunday mass and the first Friday of the month as well. I remember reading somewhere in my prayer book or in catechism class that one gained indulgences for following these rules. My grandmother had earned so many indulgences to fast track to heaven, I am sure she banked extra ones for her children and grandchildren. I am hoping to cash in on some of her indulgences so I can, at least take the express route, but you never know with inflation what those tokens are worth now.
So I decided in my early twenties to invest in benevolent work…volunteering and helping in my community like visiting isolated and ill persons, new mothers in post-natal care, distress lines, mental health outreach programmes and children in bereavement. I never did them to get tokens, however, but selfishly. That’s right, I had ulterior motives…it made me feel real good. Cliché as it may sound, helping others gives you back so much more.
I wonder if that will even count since I do it because it feels right and gives me a purpose in life. Well, I guess I will figure that out someday when I meet my creator, won’t I? I do hope that GrandPapa, GrandMaman and Mom will meet me at the pearly gates to give me the good or bad news because coming from them will feel better.
I remember hearing this when I was a young child and maybe I was at the right age to truly grasp its meaning when John Fitzgerald Kennedy said, “ask not what your country can do for you! Ask What you can do for your country!
© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson