The following article appeared in the Fall 1997 edition of the Windstar Vision.

Blessed be the Peacemakers

-- editorial by Sherryl R. Stalinski

When I was a young girl, our family drove north in Michigan one day to attend a wedding. We were seated at the same table as my great-grandmother's "little" sister and her husband. Aunt Anna and Uncle Mike must have been married nearly 50 years at this particular gathering. It was the first time I remember spending a significant amount of time with them.

They held hands while they sat at the table, and they laughed together when they danced. Uncle Mike, easily well into his 70s, would not let Aunt Anna sit out one polka. When Aunt Anna finally earned a reprieve while Uncle Mike made a trip to the bar, she glowed, anticipating his return. These two were so vibrant and full of life, and the very essence of love between them was visibly an entity unto itself. And I could sense it irrefutably even at the age of twelve. That evening, I consciously vowed to have a marriage just like theirs.

I thought of Aunt Anna a lot the first week of September. While the rest of the world mourned the loss of two women who were heroines and symbols of compassion to millions around the globe, I thought how less does Universe honor those who may have simply inspired but one life? I doubt Aunt Anna is held in any less reverence in our Creator's heart, for she inspired choices of love in my life.

In his inaugural address, Nelson Mandela quoted Marianne Williamson, saying, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure... We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be... We are born to manifest the glory of God that's within us."

When we understand this fully, in that inner place of knowing, our lives are transformed. We become the hero. We become the miracle. We take action on our passion and we touch and transform lives around us. At the same time, we find we have little time to live vicariously through others--our children, our friends and even celebrities begin to offer nothing more than inspiration for our own choices and actions. News reports which don't nurture this inspiration simply hold no interest for us--we have our own lives to live--nothing is accomplished by judging the human foibles of public figures. We have our own shortcomings to heal so that our lives can matter.

When those who inspire us die, we mourn. The air of grief resulting from the loss of Mother Teresa, Princess Diana--and our own John Denver--could be felt around the globe, which is fitting testimony to lives who inspired compassion in so many. Aunt Anna had a quiet funeral a couple years ago, I didn't even find out about it until it was over. But one day, several years ago, when Patrick and I were experiencing some of the inevitable stresses of marriage, I remembered Aunt Anna and Uncle Mike and my youthful vow. I made a choice that day. And my life, and my marriage, were transformed again.

Be touched by your own Aunt Anna, by John, by Diana, by Mother Teresa. Then, resolve yourself to one simple act: Touch just one more life with your own inspiration. The world will be a better place indeed.

see: The Windstar Foundation

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