Saturday, March 10, 2007

Wonderful Note from Sharon Mehdi, author of Great Silent Grandmother Gathering

Sharon Mehdi, the author of The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering, sent us this wonderful note that follows. We share it here with her permission. She also sent us the superb poem by Margaret Robison that follows Sharon's note. We share it her with Margaret's permission.

I want to tell you a story.

Last summer during the Lebanon-Israeli altercation, a handful of us started standing every morning from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. in our beloved Lithia Park here in Ashland. We continued standing until November. Three months. Seven days a week. No matter what the weather. It was hard. Our backs hurt and our bones ached.

As summer turned to fall and the mornings got colder, we wore layer upon layer to try to keep warm. Sometimes there were four or five of us, sometimes 18 or 20. At the end of our stand each day, we joined hands in a circle and sang: "Peace is flowing like a river/ flowing out from you and me/flowing out into the desert/setting all the people free."

On a grand and global scale, what we did was insignificant. But it was what we could do and we were committed to it. Like the wonderful Helen Keller quote: "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do."

Perhaps it didn't transform the world, but it transformed us. Our local newspapers ran front page stories about us. Ours is a tourist town and visitors took pictures of us standing. No signs, no banners. Just standing. Sometimes they joined us. And sometimes they emailed friends back home. One woman from your own state of Ohio wrote that she lived on a farm and didn't have a park or a group of women to stand with, so every morning she stood in her cornfield. She said she pretended all the cornstalks were women standing with her. She wanted us to know she was doing what she could.

You Ohio women have put so much energy and creativity and hard work into the invitation to others of us, around the world, to stand on May 13th. Your sincerity spoke to my heart. That is the magic. Women from the heartland, inviting others to stand at a certain moment on a certain day to save the world. The word is spreading. Friend to friend. You are empowering women all over to find their own way, their own park, their own cornfield.

The glory of your dream is that it is not organized. It is spontaneous and it is holy.

Love, Sharon

POEM
To Save the World by Margaret Robison
I sit still in my wheelchair
With my back straight, my head erect.
I breathe in the warm air of the room.
Out my window light from the full moon Shines on the dark water.
I breathe the warm air out.
This house is quiet tonight.
I too am quiet.
I breathe the warm air in.
On the mountain across the river a train passes
Howling its plaintive howl.
I breathe the warm air out.
The night is silent once again.
Light from the full moon shines on the dark water.
What did I do to save the world today?
I watched no news on TV.
I walked in no protest demonstrations.
I wrote no letters to Senators or Representatives.
I sat very still in my wheelchair a long time.
I held my back straight and my head erect.
I breathed in the warm air of this room.
I breathed out the warm air of my body.
And all the time,
I was smiling.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for what you are doing!
As a grandmother of four I am quite appalled at the burden being laid on them by an Administration that only believes increasing our national debt in the name of WAR!
It is time for us to speak out.Every one of us! Peace is what we must work for in this world.Follow the examples of Ghandi,Martin Luther King,and Dennis Kucinich.We need a Department for Peace and Non-Violence in every nation on earth.

Sarah Vradenburg said...

I literally am staking my future on the power of women to rebalance the world before it self-destructs. That involves speaking out, supporting people who understand what the stakes are this time around and who understand maintaining things as they are now is the ultimate death trip. I will be speaking from the pulpit of First Congregational Church of Akron on that Mother's Day, and will stall my family celebration so that we can stand in Akron with the millions of women and men around the world who will also be standing. But we must become the peace we seek; we can only change our own behavior and invite people to travel with us. It is not enough for us to be against that which we oppose; we must model that which we are for.

Nicole, The Modern Goddess said...

That story by Sharon made me cry. Thank you for being so inspiring.

Jana Ostrom, IAAM said...

THANK YOU. I sincerely believe in this group. I am the literary editor for the I Am a Miracle Foundation. We are presently compiling our 3rd volume of miracle stories, and the theme is PEACE. May I have permission to include the article about the women, and also the poem by Sarah Robinson? I would love to have many, many women, from many, many nations be part of I Am a Miracle, III. Please contact me! (www.iamamiracle.com)
With love and gratitude,
Jana Ostrom
jana@aboutmontana.net