We can acknowledge that different influential people in our lives have shaped who we are. Today, I want y’all to meet Charlotte Speirs. Charlotte has always been a woman clothed in strength and tranquility. The spirit that resonates from her body is purely celestial. She’s always been a place of love in my life. She’s always made me feel valuable beyond compare. She’s taught me many things about becoming a virtuous woman, along with selflessly serving others. I have fond memories of helping out at the nursing home with her and individually meeting the members of the home. Her heart had no boundaries, her love is merely everlasting.

Charlotte has recently shared with me a very precious experience that she had with her daughter and I would like to share it with y’all.

Recently, Charlotte and her daughter, Hannah, were watching the Wizard of Oz. Charlotte explains to me how “this was the first time Hannah actually watched the whole movie without running off when the flying monkeys came on!!!” Hannah is a twenty-four year old woman with Down Syndrome and this has allowed her to obtain a different outlook on this classical movie.

           When the two of them sat down to watch this movie, Charlotte leaned over to Hannah and asked her what her thoughts were on the Scarecrow without a brain. Hannah looked over to her mother as if she lacked a brain for asking such a thing. Hannah exclaims, “Mom, he has a brain!!! Scarecrow make a plan and rescue Dorothy from witch’s castle! He have brain for that!!!”

As I am discussing this instance with Charlotte, she enlightens with her thoughts on the conversation…

“The conversation with Hannah made me wonder why we think we lack things that we actually possess. Is it because we notice someone else having more of it than we do?  So many of people sell themselves short because they think they’re “not enough.”  They set arbitrary conditions for self-acceptance – getting a college degree, losing weight, getting married, getting that raise/promotion, buying the perfect house, going to the gym six days a week, etc, and tell themselves they will be “good enough” when they accomplish that thing. Achieving goals is wonderful and self-improvement is a necessary part of development, but not when we measure our worth and value by it. Sometimes the very things we’re trying to become can distract us from remembering who we already are – daughters (and sons) of our Heavenly Father who loves us more than we can begin to imagine, simply because we are HIS.”
           Is that not so beautiful? Is that not so wonderful? This conversation can lead us all to wonder why we think we lack things we actually possess? Are we unable to recognize the talents and strengths we have while trying to keep up with society? Or are we just moving too fast in our daily lives that we forget to acknowledge just how amazing we are? Whatever the reason may be, it’s important that we always recenter ourselves and acknowledge ourselves as the special beings we are.
           So, back to the movie. We meet the Tin Man who claims he wants a heart. When the Wizard finally gives him what he desires, he says, “Remember that a heart isn’t measured by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.”
           How backwards is this? I think Charlotte and I both agreed that this statement was quite misleading to us all… In fact, I think it would be better to say “that a heart is measured by how much you love.” Loving others can be difficult occasionally, but imagine a world in which everyone loved each other? A world where we were all willing to be compassionate for one another in our daily lives. The compassion would be so overwhelming that we would all be eagerly compelled to love even harder. “In the end, nothing we do or say in this lifetime will matter as much as the way we have loved one another” (Daphne Rose Kingma).
           Next, we meet the lion. The lion has this belief that he’s a coward merely because he lacks courage. I asked Charlotte what she thought about this and the following was her response:
“Some of the most courageous women I know probably don’t think of themselves as courageous. When our son passed away from a brain tumor our granddaughters were four and 2 ½ years old, and our grandson had only been born 3 weeks before.  Our precious daughter-in-law carries the weight of the world on her shoulders.  There’s no husband or father to wake up in the night with a sick child or to come home at 5:00 to give her a break after a hard and busy day.  There are countless women raising children alone who are as courageous as any soldier in battle, and even more dangerous if someone messes with their babies.”
           Her response reminded me of my own mother. My mother is one of the most courageous people I know. It’s quite cliché, but it’s the simple truth. Through my lens, I see my mom as a warrior, a champion, and a hero. The courage she’s exemplified is unmatched, but my mother may not realize just how courageous she is. It’s easy to see the courage in others, but sometimes we forget to recognize it within ourselves. It’s important that we remember that “courage doesn’t always roar – sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try it again tomorrow'”(Mary Anne Rodmacher).

Charlotte left me with these powerful words:

“We learn that each of these characters are just people Dorothy knew in Kansas. Have you ever wondered who the good witch Glinda was? I like to think that Glinda is Dorothy’s deceased mother who has already gone ‘beyond the rainbow’. Yet, she is always there watching over Dorothy, sometimes to give her things that she needs, like ruby slippers and a kiss on the forehead. In the book, the kiss that Glinda gives Dorothy leaves a mark on her forehead that creates protection against evil. The wicked witch sees the mark and says, ‘I can kill her as I’d like, but since she doesn’t understand the power of the slippers I’ll make her my slave instead.’ I believe there is truth in that concept. There is indeed an evil one that would enslave us in our ignorance. But we have each been given protection, a ‘kiss’, from the light of Christ given to us at birth. Our responsibility and the very purpose of our journey in life is to discover the power and gifts that we have already been given, to look for and appreciate the help along the way, and to ultimately return to our Heavenly home of peace and understanding, encircled in the arms of God and all those that we love.”

As you can see, Charlotte has a special heart; she has a special soul. Hannah as well. They both really opened my eyes and allowed me to adopt a new outlook on my life. From Hannah’s perspective on the Scarecrow, we can learn to acknowledge the talents and strengths we have. I think it’s imperative that we remember that we are all blessed with many strengths. From the Tin Man, we can learn just how important compassion is in our daily lives. From the Lion, we can remember that we are all courageous even if we aren’t actively committing super courageous acts. And from Charlotte, we can learn that we all have a Glinda in our lives. We have so many people who love and care for us dearly. These people will help us along our journey and remind us of our special gifts.

With love,



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s