Thursday, October 8, 2009

Stephanie Nielson and Oprah: The Video ( and Love Letter To Nie )



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.
Vanessa said...

So beautifully said.

I happened to your blog from your post on cjane. I feel the same way you do, so blessed and honored to have this stranger in my life. I will never be the same.

Vashti said...

I am in 100% agreement! She is AMAZING. I started following her blog because of you. Thankyou for introducing her to us!
love you Maggie.
x

mosey along said...

You are not alone, and thank you for saying so beautifully what so many of us seem to feel for this woman. She is a huge part of the reason I started blogging.

Mwa said...

What a beautiful love letter. I will go and read her blog, too. You should know that you are spreading the influence, though, bringing beauty into lives like mine as well.

michelle said...

Her story is amazing and I am amazed by her as well.

Lisa said...

Well said! Well written! There is something deep in her, isn't there? You can't get past her eyes, and smile, to even see the scars. I have never seen such beauty in anyone. Dove soap, should stand up and pay attention. She should be there spokes person, since they are running a campaign on true beauty!

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Maggie,
Because of your post yesterday, I checked out Nie's blog and read most of it. She is truly an inspiration, and your tribute to her here is lovely beyond words. I hope she gets to read it.

Love,

SB

Momma Chae said...

I love this. Especially the "Because of Nie" part. Lovely! And I feel the same way.

just making my way said...

Lately I feel like it is so much easier for me to be negative and bitchy. It's not a nice feeling. I need some inspiration. I can't watch this video at work. But I'll be back.

Pam Hart said...

It's a pretty amazing story and she's pretty incredible too.

Petit fleur said...

..."Beauty is an expression of the joy in your heart". I am going to make myself a lovely calligraphic sign with this phrase on it. I love it.

She is most incredible, and you are too. Thanks for turning me on to so many cool women and artists and art and and and...

Rachael said...

there is so much i could say, but you said it all. beautiful. tears. love. hope. grace.

The Girl said...

Isn't she incredible? Ditto to all you said. Ditto, and ditto again.

Lacey said...

Tell me about it. Tell ME ABOUT IT. I'm blown away by her beauty.

Laura said...

So I have followed Nie since the place crash.
The came upon CJane.
And at CJane,found YOUR comment.

And it spoke so clearly to me.

You have a beautiful way with words.
And I have to say, that the feeling I have after reading Nie is not unlike the feeling I just took away from YOUR very own words.

Thank you for this post.

adrienne said...

i know very little about nie nie. but what you write reminds me, on a grander scale perhaps, of michelle's post here:

http://wwwjusteatit.blogspot.com/2009/10/clarification.html

what an exquisite gift to have received love and beauty BEFORE tragedy, that one might have the strength to persevere with grace.

and what strength and perseverance on your part to have experienced the fire FIRST, yet still be open to the beauty, love, and grace that you now dance within.

you and nie are both magical examples; reflections of each other in the looking glass.

starrlife said...

Thanks for introducing me to Niene- love your post and ideas! So true....

krista said...

i also found her blog right before the crash. i am so amazed by her story, it renders me speechless.

Annabelle said...

That was aboslutely beautiful... a beautiful ode to a beautiful person.

I never really knew the story behind Nie's accident, but I watched that excerpt then and read your letter to her and was touched. Her life has been turned upside down, but she prospers on - not whining, but moving, doing things - so amazing.

Bobbie Leigh said...

So heartbreaking yet so inspiring.. she is truly an amazing woman!!

Vanessa said...

Beautiful and true post - thank you!

Diana said...

so inspiring! her spirit is ageless and full of love.

Woman in a Window said...

I'm intrigued. And I want to watch. But instead, I think I'll just sit in the beauty of the truth you tell here. Perhaps I'll read her, but I want it to be for the right reasons, you know, nothing short of that.
xo
erin

Annie K said...

Thank you for this post,and for your blog.

Caroline said...

The Holy Spirit is works miracles through Nie Nie. Thank you for this post. You have so perfectly said what I know many of have also felt in our hearts. Gratitude. I recently posted an "Inspired by Nie" post on my blog, and thought afterwards that I hope and pray all of our "inspired by" notes and posts don't ever seem like a burden or invasion of anything sacred to her. I think your post has been one of the most honest and moving tributes that I have read and it is certainly a testament to how one person can be such an amazing vessel of Grace.

Michele Renee said...

I too have thought about Nie just about every day for a year. She has enriched my life. You said it so well!

Kate said...

After reading your post on Friday, I wandered over to Stephanie's blog and spent the weekend reading it (every single post) thank you for the introduction, she has an amazing story, but you also have an amazing story and the way you tell it is a lovely gift, thanks for sharing hers and yours. :)

Lora said...

I've always been hesitant to read her blog because I didn't know if she was just famous because of the crash or if she was really as good as everyone says. But I'm headed there now for the first time.

Thank you for this post. For encouraging us to find whatever it is that drives Nie in ourselves.

Nicole Smith said...

Your words made me cry, what a beautiful tribute.

Suzyhayze said...

It's everything I've wanted to say for a very long time. Bravo.

Butternutsage said...

isn't she amazing and what a beautiful tribute you wrote for her. We are all better people if we learn what NieNie has taught us. Blessings to you for such a wonderful post!

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