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  • Writer's pictureErin Chandler

What Today Brings

“Life to you is a bold and dashing responsibility.” – Fortune Cookie

We all recognize, accept and even agonize about all of the many responsibilities we have in our lives. What we don’t often acknowledge is that life itself is a responsibility. Like the fortune cookie says, we have a responsibility to make the most of the time we are given and have a responsibility to rise to the challenge of life.

Each of us grew up with something burning inside, a dream, a wish, a skill or the thought that one thing felt particularly ‘right’ to do. I believe we burn our brightest if we honor that which feels inherently genuine, even if doesn’t ring true to someone else. Walt Whitman wrote to, “re-examine all you have been told in school, church or any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem…” How wonderful for our lives to be a poem! How better to write the poems of our lives by respecting what is deep down inside and resisting the pressure to take on someone else’s version of ourselves.

In an effort to live up to the responsibility of my life, I have disappointed and frustrated many who had their own idea of what my responsibilities were. Confrontation has never been my strong suit. In fact, when we were kids and young adults, my brother was loud about his misbehaving… making me appear the good one. He knew better and yelled to our parents, “She does the same thing, she’s just quiet about it!” But being a fan of keeping the peace never weakened the magnetic pull to do exactly what I wanted. Living up to what made the most sense to me personally at a given moment was always greater than any fear of alienation.

Obviously, the responsibility of sewing one’s wild oats is not what the fortune cookie is saying, but more the bigger picture responsibility. There is a time when we all hopefully grow into the tools we were given. Through trial and error, triumphs and disappointments, we become familiar with our gut feelings, our intuition and the skills with which we are most proficient. This gives us clues pointing toward our greatest potential. Perhaps those feelings, desires and talents are there to guide us to do what we came here to do. Maybe there is an interior road map put in place to guide us toward that which will benefit ourselves as well as others in the greatest capacity.

Who knows why one person is born to be a savior of the masses and another may only touch a few people in their lifetime. The destiny of Adolfo Kaminsky, born in Argentina in 1925 to Jewish parents from Russia, was surely the former. This humble man who grew up in Paris was nothing less than a super hero who saved some fourteen thousand Jewish people hiding in France from Nazi’s. The young Kaminsky, following the only path he saw fit to take, became a tireless worker for the French Resistance. With his particular knowledge of die and colors and chemistry, he created a lab to forge fake identification cards and passports, giving those hiding in plain sight from Nazi’s hell bent on their extinction, fake names, fake parents and a stamp claiming they were anything but marked with the J that sealed their assured death. “Now I’m nobody,” the ninety-something Kaminsky says, “but I think I was able to meet the challenge. I did what I had to when I had to, and I was lucky to be able to do it.”

On a smaller scale, my Aunt Toss spent her life going from house to house, spending time with people that were alone. Eureath White was one of many Versailles residents she helped forever and without hesitation, taking her places and bringing her things. The last time I saw Eureath, my Aunt brought me to her bedside just to give her company. Aunt Toss loved elderly people, so sweet like some sort of Elm Street angel, taking them to see relatives and to doctor’s appointments and jumping out of the car to give someone a hug. She also loved redheads as she was one herself. Aunt Toss had no problem bounding toward a stranger in a movie theater to tell her that her wavy head of auburn locks was extraordinary. In everything she gave so much, not only to her art but to serving others. Each moment, she gave with her entire being. Now that she is elderly and in the midst of Alzheimer’s, I watch a string of loving caregivers, Karin, Tammie, Beverly, Laura, Brittany, Kristen and Tom, hold her hand, sing with her and laugh during nonsensical but warm conversations. I am convinced she racked up enough good karma to be taken care of kindly for the rest of her life.

Surely each soul is celebrated the same by God, celebrated equally by the universe, the energy, the frequency and vibration that created it. Whether a giant feat comes to define your existence or an intense love for animals or elderly people, whatever we have the courage to see through is our responsibility.

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