by Annette Bridges. ©2010. All rights reserved.
It’s hard to believe that I had almost forgotten that March was National Women’s History Month. It was, in fact, my husband who reminded me, after he heard a news story about a woman who had survived Indian captivity during the 19th century.
For years, American history curriculums have been void of women’s experiences, perspectives, accomplishments and contributions to our culture and society. It may be difficult to ever find and recognize all the women that make up our nation’s early history, since many of their stories were probably never documented, recorded or thought worthy enough to be saved.
Most of us hopefully know about those gutsy women whose bravery, courage and determination resulted in women having the right the vote. Women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul, to name only a few.
Many notable and ordinary women have blazed the trails women now walk. These were women who were visionaries, problem solvers and mentors. Some made headlines and some without loud fanfare, but all left their indelible mark in their homes, workplaces and communities.
And my women friends today need to remember that they, too, are part of making women’s history for future generations.
I think the women (and men, too, for that matter) who capture my greatest respect are those who do whatever it takes to overcome some impossible obstacle.
One of these women is Mary Baker Eddy. Larry Lipman, when serving as President of the National Press Club, said, “What do you do if you’re eighty-eight years old, you’ve already created a denomination, and the newspapers of the day start attacking you? Well, if you’re Mary Baker Eddy, you create your own newspaper, and you show them how it’s supposed to be done.” His speech was honoring The Christian Science Monitor, which Eddy founded in 1908 amid an era of rampant yellow journalism that dominated American newsrooms.
I find myself facing my own obstacle at this time in my life. I long to overcome whatever it is that is keeping me from understanding my purpose in this life. No, it’s nothing so earth-shattering or significant that it will make much of a difference to anyone else but me. But it feels like my world is at a turning point of some kind.
Since becoming an empty nester, I’ve struggled with feelings of regret and insignificance. I feel like there is more I’m supposed to do with my life, but I’m not sure exactly what that is. Many times I’ve pushed myself to try new things and explore ideas and possibilities never considered before. But still, the search continues.
As I write this column, I am only three days from doing something I’ve never done before and never imagined doing. All I can say is that I feel like it’s something I must do, even though I don’t fully understand why.
I was invited to travel to Italy with a couple of girl friends — without husbands.
I’m a mishmash of excitement and fear. I decided I could not allow my insecurities to stop me from making this trip, so here I am. Three days until departure and the packing has begun.
When I explained all of my uneasy feelings to my daughter, she responded with a quote she recalled reading somewhere, “It’s time to put your big girl panties on and deal with it!”
After doing a little research, I found these words published on countless things from t-shirts to magnets, from wine glasses to coffee mugs. I’m not sure who said it first. Regardless, I must admit it does rather sum up what I feel I must do about my pending trip and probably a few other quandaries as well.
I think it was Bette Davis who once said, “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.” Perhaps that sentiment sometimes sums up our life, ladies and gentlemen, but I have a feeling that we may decide that bumpy ride was well worth it.
My life story may not be published in the history books, but my story, just like your story, is important. We are each a gift from God, and our life and purpose is precious in His sight. Each of our lives makes a difference in this world of ours — whether we know that or not.
Whether our story is one of survival or of great strength and ability, we are making history, and someone will be benefited by our example.
by Annette Bridges. © 2006. All rights reserved.
Do you have dreams that have never been realized? Do you feel like it’s too late to act on them? Well, maybe it’s not!
Since my childhood, I have aspired to be a published author. I’ve always loved to write. Keeping a journal was a passion that began when I was 9 years old. But many years passed without my youthful dreams coming true.
The pursuit of ideals, for women and men alike, has long been a powerful force in restoring hope in the face of impossible odds. Its power often comes when we consider that impossible odds might sometimes be self-imposed odds that make us sigh with dismay: “too old” or “too late.” But to impossible odds, the dreamer and visionary will always say, “Not so!”
March being National Women’s History Month compels me to write about a woman whose life example tells me it’s never too late to pursue aspirations, achieve goals and fulfill one’s life purpose. I first learned of Mary Baker Eddy as an American author of a book that explained groundbreaking ideas about spirituality and health — ideas that are more at home in the 21st century than in her own 19th-century world, in fact.
David Hufford of the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine wrote in his book “Eddy: Current Running against the Mainstream”: “In the late 1800s, there were very few women in medical schools, in seminaries, or in universities. Mrs. Eddy and a handful of other women upset centuries of tradition when they began to speak and write about religious and medical issues … and to talk openly about the equality of men and women.”
Mary Baker Eddy openly challenged the conventional thinking in the theology, medicine and science of her times, and for this, she was often the target of criticism and slander. Consequently, I’ve found that some historical records still don’t tell all the facts of her life correctly. The lives of others have much to teach us, so how important it is for his-stories and her-stories to be accurately told!
What inspires me now as I approach the half-century mark is that she was 54 years old when her renowned book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” was first published. And top that with the fact that she was 87 years old when she launched The Christian Science Monitor as a balanced and ethical alternative to the sensational journalism of her day. A paper that remains a leading international newspaper, I might add.
Such accomplishments (and there were many others) by a woman during her middle age and senior years give me inspiration to imagine the possibilities for my dreams today.
Eddy’s own words provide some insight into how ambitions can be accomplished. “The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible.” Her life and accomplishments proved this for us all.
History is filled with accounts of many great men and women who have reached their aims and attained their high hopes. Mary Baker Eddy describes their lives as “miracles of patience and perseverance.” And like them and like her, we’ve all got it in us.
Still feel like it’s too late to pursue your dreams? Well, maybe it’s not!
For more information about Mary Baker Eddy and her many accomplishments, visit the website of the Mary Baker Eddy Library.
by Annette Bridges. © 2006. All rights reserved.
Do you have dreams that have never been realized? Do you feel like it’s too late to act on them? Well….maybe it’s not!
Since my childhood, I aspired to be a published author. I’ve always loved to write. Keeping a journal was a passion that began when I was nine years old. But many years passed without my dream coming true.
You might be thinking, why would anyone (besides my family and close friends) want to know anything about me and my dreams?
March being National Women’s History Month compels me to write not so much about me and my dreams but about a woman whose life example is encouraging me to pursue my dreams. Even now, as I approach the half century mark. An empty nester wondering what’s next for my life besides becoming a grandmother some day.
The pursuit of dreams, for women and men alike, has long been a powerful force in restoring hope in the face of impossible odds. Its power often comes when we consider that “impossible odds” might sometimes be self-imposed. Such as self-imposed “odds” that make us sigh with dismay: “too old” or “too late.” But to impossible odds, the dreamer and visionary will always say, “Not so!”
I first learned of Mary Baker Eddy as an American author of a book that explained groundbreaking ideas about spirituality and health. Ideas that are more at home in the 21st-century than in her own 19th-century world, in fact. She openly challenged the conventional thinking in theology, medicine and science of her times. So she was often the target of criticism and slander. Consequently, I’ve found that some historic records still don’t tell all the facts of her life correctly.
David Hufford wrote in his book, Eddy: Current Running against the Mainstream, “In the late 1800s, there were very few women in medical schools, in seminaries, or in universities. Mrs. Eddy and a handful of other women upset centuries of tradition when they began to speak and write about religious and medical issues…and to talk openly about the equality of men and women.”
There is much to learn from the lives of others. So how important it is for his-stories and her-stories to be accurately told.
What inspires me now at this time in my life is Mary Baker Eddy was 54 years old when her renowned book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, was first published. And top that with she was 87 years old when she launched The Christian Science Monitor, as a balanced and ethical alternative to the sensational journalism of her day. A paper that remains a leading international newspaper today, I might add.
Such accomplishments, and there were many others, by a woman during her middle age and senior years, gives me inspiration to imagine the possibilities for my dreams today.
Eddy’s life story is testament to the fact that it’s never too late to pursue dreams. Her own words give some insight into how dreams can be accomplished. “The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible.” Mary Baker Eddy’s life and accomplishments proved this for us all. (www.marybakereddylibrary.org)
History is filled with accounts of many great men and women who have fulfilled their dreams. Mary Baker Eddy describes their lives as “miracles of patience and perseverance.” And like them and like her, we’ve all got it in us.
Still feel like it’s too late to pursue your dreams?
Well…maybe it’s not!
by Annette Bridges. © 2006. All rights reserved.
It’s a story that needs to be told. Many women have left their imprint on history, but her-stories historically have not been published. Women have touched and changed lives, and their beneficiaries do well to recognize those who have impacted their lives.
The theme for this year’s National Women’s History Month is “Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility.” I’ve decided it’s about time I recognize and honor the two women who have inspired me and taught me most about life, courage and persistence.
Most folks reading this do not know my mother and never will. But her story may sound familiar to some. By society’s standards, even today, she was a child bride. Unhappy at home with her mom and stepfather, she was easily wooed by a handsome young man in uniform. Her teen years were spent as a wife and mother of two. By 1967, she was the mother of four children – three of them grown. She had been married two-thirds of her life.
She struggled with a troubled marriage and health problems. What was next for her? When her marriage ended in divorce, she hit the road taking me and little else. She did manage to pack her ice cream freezer, Bible and another book a friend had given to her that I’ll mention later. Our journey not only took us westward. It would be a life-finding journey for my mother that would bless my life more than I have space to say.
How can I summarize her next forty years? My mother found a new life for herself step by step. She never gave up no matter how rough and bumpy the road got. Her belief in herself grew as her trust in God grew. Over the course of these years there were many firsts and accomplishments: her own car, bank account, credit card, a house, swimming pool, GED, college, and a career. There were also the intangibles: happiness, peace of mind, satisfaction, freedom, identity, self-completeness, fulfillment, and health.
I think of the example my mother has been for me. Her life has taught me: “It’s never too late.” “Never give up”. “No hill is too steep to climb.” “Beginnings and first times can happen throughout life at any age.” “Happiness is not bought with money.” “Home is in your heart.” “Joy is God-given and can’t be taken from you.” I could go on and on!
Another woman gave my mother much inspiration as she began her life anew. She had an enormous influence on my life as well.
Mary Baker Eddy
The first forty years of her life was full of struggles and chronic poor health. Widowed three months before the birth of her only child, she returned to her parent’s home for support. Her second husband proved unfaithful and abandoned her. She eventually divorced him. Then, following a serious accident, she found healing answers in the Bible. And like my mother, she established a new life.
Mary Baker Eddy became an influential American author, teacher and religious leader, noted for her groundbreaking ideas about spirituality and health, which she named Christian Science. She articulated those ideas in, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. This was the book the friend gave to my mom. Her revolutionary ideas were based on the healing works of Christ Jesus, which she saw as divinely natural and repeatable.
For my mom, Science and Health was life regenerating, giving her comfort, hope and practical ideas about prayer and healing. She gained a new view of her identity that proved to be health giving and self-transforming. Perhaps it was the opening line of this book that affirmed the promise of my mom’s forward course: “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.”
In her book, Mary Baker Eddy, author, Gillian Gill, describes the life journey of this remarkable woman. “Conventional in her twenties, weak in her thirties, struggling in her forties, a social outcast in her fifties, indefatigably working in her sixties, famous in her seventies, formidable in her eighties, Mrs. Eddy rewrites the female plot and offers new ways to strive and achieve.” The life journeys of both my mother and Mary Baker Eddy illustrate how anyone can overcome difficulties and hardships, achieve a goal, fulfill a dream, and make a vision reality. No words are truer than these of Mary Baker Eddy. “The lives of great men and women are miracles of patience and perseverance.”
My mom’s transformation and Mary Baker Eddy’s ideas have guided my own life. The lives of these two women are examples to me of achievement against great odds, and instill in me a conviction that anything is possible.
So it’s time for me to say “thank you” to my mother and to Mary Baker Eddy for life lessons that have left indelible marks on me and many others.