Picture of the day – Reflection

Reflection

Reflection

We spent last week in Illinois with my husband’s family.  His father is nearing the end of his time with us as his cancer has spread, and the Parkinson’s Disease has robbed him of both his mobility and his mental clarity.

Having lost my mother this past January after she too fought a battle with cancer coupled with Alzheimer’s Disease, seeing my father-in-law in this condition was gut-retching painful.  My mother-in-law is providing round-the-clock care that I fear will soon be unsustainable for them both.  My sister and I were my mother’s primary care-givers.  Too many memories, both good and bad came flooding back.

I don’t know that we ever get over the death of a parent.  Even knowing this is the natural path, it still can immobilize me at times with sadness.

I can not even imagine the pain involved in loosing a spouse or child.  I have friends that have experienced both.  I admire them the strength they show in moving forward each and every day.

Last week, while lying wide awake in my in-laws guest bedroom, I tried to make a mental list of people I most admired, found fascinating and would love to sit down and spend a day with.  The list was not that long, and I may just write about it in the near future.

What I found most interesting in this mental exercise was that although many names almost made the list, few actually did.

There was one name that stuck out the most to me, and sadly I can never have that one-on-one conversation, because he is no longer living.  This guy was my hero, and remains the one person I admire most besides my husband.

He was wise, witty, soft-spoken, and a best-selling author.  He published five books of poetry and one of essays.  He became a motivational speaker, and lobbied on Capitol Hill on behalf of peace.  An advocate for people with disabilities, and children with life-threatening conditions, he made himself heard.

A few of my favorite quotes of his include:

Wars should be fought with words, not bombs, not weapons.  And calm words.  I think that wars should be fought over a chessboard and a cup of something to drink.

You can’t lie down in the ashes of another persons life.

Sunset is still my favorite color and rainbow is second.

Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.

We all have life storms, and when we get the rough times and we recover from them, we should celebrate that we got through it.  No matter how bad it may seem, there’s always something beautiful you can find.

This wise, beautiful soul died before reaching his 14th birthday.  The morsels of wisdom, far beyond his years have touched so many.  I can not even imagine the gifts left wrapped due to his passing far too soon.

Why do I admire him so much?  Because although born with a rare and crippling form of muscular dystrophy, he lived his life to the fullest amount possible.  He spoke his truth.  He did not let his challenges stop him from being positive.

He made a difference.  He lived until he died.

RIP Mattie Stepanek (July 17, 1990 – June 22, 2004)

I would love to know who your hero is.  Please let me know who you most admire, would be excited to meet, or be able to sit down and visit with over a cup of coffee.

About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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11 Responses to Picture of the day – Reflection

  1. Renard Moreau says:

    [ Smiles ] A very beautiful, breathtaking photograph!

    Like

  2. Mike Alesko says:

    Joanne, as I read and pondered your reflection, I recalled all the wonderful, joy-filled photos you have posted in the recent past of visits with Tim’s folks. How ephemeral the sweet moments with loved ones that we want to think we can repeat forever. And how relevant Mattie’s quote is that “Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.” From your touching photos Joanne of both your last days with your Mom and those of you and Tim with his folks, it is quite obvious at a glance that you two have given both sets of parents all the caring and love that dwells in your hearts. What a blessing for all of you….

    Like

  3. Mike Alesko says:

    My hero and the man I would so love to meet and chat with is Bobby Kennedy — who I shook hands with in a campaign stop just days before he was killed. I’d love to talk with him about the unbridled passion and energy he brought to quests: bringing justice to an unjust nation and world; peace to an unpeaceful world; and equality where there was (and stil is) so much inequity. I’d tell him how much I admired him doing all this when he could easily have sat back and enjoyed his wealth or used his family’s power for more selfish ends. I’d ask him how he kept the faith for all this against such a dark world and national backdrop. I’d talk with him about the vision and charge to us that he expressed below:
    “The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society. Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live.”

    As Ted Kennedy said of Bobby in eulogiozing him:
    “My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world. As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”

    *The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society.* Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live.”

    That is the way he lived. That is what he leaves us.

    My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

    Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

    As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

    “Some men see things as they are and say why.
    I dream things that never were and say why not.”

    Like

  4. Marie Cambre & Chuck Ursa says:

    Joanne, I love reading everything you write. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Tim and his family. I relate so well with you on the loss of a parent. Some days are very hard. God Bless and take care.

    Like

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