Saturday, May 22, 2010

Inspiration from Two Beautiful Young Women

"We all go through times that are more difficult than others," writes Joel Osteen.

Speaking of difficult times, I know a young lady who has faced adversity and come out a winner. This girl woke up one morning to flashing blue and red lights flooding through her window, only to find that the police had shot and killed her next door neighbor who happened to be a good friend of hers. It's a long story, but it seems that her neighbor had borrowed his sister's truck without permission and when the police investigated, he came to the door with a gun and was shot and killed. Prior to this, the young lady's mom had lost her job and things unraveled at school too with bullying and other teenage drama. Everything seemed to be going against her. With so much going on around her, she felt intense pain. The only way to relieve it seemed to be cutting. She was depressed and hurt with nowhere to turn. After her grandparents learned of her dilemma, they drove 600 miles to pick her up. They found their granddaughter withdrawn and angry. After taking her to their home, they enrolled her in school and obtained counseling for her. The girl turned her life completely around. She not only quit cutting, but she excelled in music, drama, and art at her new school. She wrote poetry and drew sketches that were published by the school library. She performed "Walk Like an Egyptian" with a girls' ensemble. The choreography and singing brought down the house at her school's spring show. The girl's name is Jessica Parkos Alvarez. She came from a small town in Nebraska to a large university town in Kansas where she made friends with wonderful people who adored and admired her. How do I know so much about this young lady? Maybe because I am her grandma, her "Nana" who is very proud of her accomplishments. Jessica has hit her stride and everything is falling into place. Because she is in such a good space right now, she has given me permission to share her story.

The other lady who has shown strength in the face of adversity is my facebook friend, Becky Clark, who was born with albinism. This rare condition affects only one in every 17,000 people. Becky was born without the melanin pigment that gives color to eyes, skin, and hair. Usually serious vision problems and skin that is extremely sensitive to the sun are traits of albinism.  There are less-educated people in certain countries who persecute those with albinism because they believe they are cursed.

Becky Clark suffered some persecution herself because she has very pale skin and white hair. There have been times at school when she has faced challenges of bullying and teasing. Yet, Becky has met these challenges with the help and care of someone who took the time to understand with compassion what it is like to have albinism because she has it herself, even though she is a beautiful model.  The person who helped Becky wishes to remain anonymous but will always remain a wonderful part of Becky's heart.

As I am writing this, Becky is writing and inspiring other teenagers. My Jessica just completed 8th grade successfully and happily and is ready to enjoy a summer of driver's ed, art, and having fun. These young ladies are not cursed but instead are blessed with creativity, wisdom, and good ideas. They don't have to sweat the small stuff, or even the big stuff for that matter because they go with the flow. They have flowed right through insults, frustrations, and challenges of all kinds.

I've been reading Joel Osteen's book IT'S YOUR TIME, and he tells many stories like these of people who have overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable and came out victors. When they got knocked down, they got up with new hope in their hearts, knowing that life was going to get easier if they could just flow with the universe.

These ladies  have strong belief in themselves. They are winners full of creativity and inspiration that will make our world a better place. Because of that, I am thankful and honored to know them and be a part of their lives.

Love and light,

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