Thursday, October 8, 2009
My reaction to watching this was to be re-amazed at the impact Stephanie has had on my life. I have been tremendously influenced by characters from history and from novels before, but never by a person who I have never met, but feel I know so well. Part of what makes Nie feel so 'knowable'- outside of her obvious blog- is that she is a pure soul. She has lived a pure life, by my standards. I don't find her mysterious- although I am sure there are mysteries she contains- because she is as clear as spring water. I think of things that I have come in contact with throughout my life and know that Nie has never been around these things, never been involved with these things. Her family raised her in organic soil. :) What purity I have is through the cleansing fire of forgiveness and a tremendous uphill battle. What purity Nie has is through the clarity of the water into which she was born, and the strength and beauty of her soul.
I started reading Nie's blog right before the crash, and was immediately 'star struck'. How could a woman be so innocent, so joyful, so hard working, so unselfish, so happy? Every glimpse of her life was a glimpse into how I could better myself, thereby bettering the lives of my husband and children as well. After the plane crash, I was mesmerized. How would she deal with this? I was sure how her family would deal with it..they would surely be supportive, devoted, strong. But Nie? The one suffering physical pain that does not cross most lives? The one suffering the loss of her divine freckled beauty before age 30? How would Nie deal with it?
I have watched, and I have truly learned. Tears roll down my cheeks as I write this. I have thought of Nie almost daily for the last year. I will be on the computer at 5pm, exhausted. Like now. I will feel a smidge of self pity. I will feel cranky. I will feel stony, without humor. And then I will think of Nie. I will think of her house, the beauty of her walls, her silhouettes, the paint color of her walls. I will think of the beauty I so admire that rolls in on blog posts filled with pictures of her children, beauty that comes from beaming smiles, open mouthed laughter, mischevous grins caught by a parent paying attention. I will think of her waking in great pain, before opening her eyes already knowing what she must face all day long, and facing it with an attitude that is the definition of grace. I will think of her dinner table, set so lovely,and the feeling that gives a person, and how that feeling comes from living in beauty, and how living in beauty comes from a person willing to encourage it to grow in their home, and all the work that encompasses, and the grace, the GRACE it takes to work that hard, to push that garden to grow, without a scowl, without the harshness that ages women's faces faster and uglier than any fire can ever produce. Bitterness is a quick ugly. Nie is a lifetime of beauty.
Nie has the religous devout's intuitive understanding of the importance of beauty in life, while I had the puritan, intellectual's miscontruct that beauty was of little importance. If I was in a four walled jail cell, it would be important to find the beauty inherent. Nie taught me that beauty is an expression of the joy in your heart. I stop to struggle to convey what that means to someone like me who grew up with such ugliness, in every aspect permeating my childhood. To create beauty in my attitude, my home, my garden, my marriage, my mothering, my workplace...has changed my life. I am stronger and clearer and happier and closer to the life I want to live.
Imagine what this means to Nie, now burnt over 80% of her body. Now imagine what this means for us, for human beings, that a woman who has lived her life like this can be burnt like this and survive and move forward and LIVE LIKE THIS. It means we are capable of miracles.
Because of Nie, I painted my bathroom turquoise.
Because of Nie, I am gardening with Lola.
Because of Nie, I am patient with Mr. Curry when I want to fuss.
Because of Nie, I write love letters in lipstick. ( and so does Lola )
Because of Nie, I take my children's whining or fussing in stride.
Because of Nie, I set a beautiful dinner table.
Because of Nie, I turn on music and dance while I clean.
Because of Nie, I am bemused when I could be irked.
Because of Nie, my life is more beautiful, graceful, strong and in general, more kick ass.
She is a hero of mine. I love you, Stephanie Nielson.