I apologize to the group, but we must take time out to play a game last week. You see – once again – I realize I have not gone by the rules.
"Oh, no, this isn’t going to be another self-analysis thing, is it? Production hasn’t even got up-to-speed since that last tangent."
Of course not, Ann. Though I will admit there is more than one lesson to be learned from this experience. At any rate, it occurs to me I wanted to read what others had taken the time to list, without doing the same thing, myself. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even realize it was necessary. I mean, nobody ever comes here but us, so what would be the point.
"Then what exactly is the point?"
Integrity. If one says they are going to do something, they should do it. Builds integrity. Actually has a bigger benefit for the person who speaks up than the one who simply hears. No one can survive in any circle these days without at least a moderate amount of integrity, so let’s get to it. We are to go to page 123 of the nearest book at hand that we are currently reading, count five sentences down the page, and then copy the next three.
I have no idea. Except that there are a lot of people who refuse to even get involved in this stuff. The majority, in fact. Which is a good reason to re-evaluate. It’s just that the three lines on page 123 of my current reading book moved me to tears, put me in my place, realigned my priorities, and made me want to be a better person. Which tells me I have been entirely too self-absorbed lately if the only vehicle through which I am open to receiving inspiration is a game of tag. Why, Lilly – whatever is the matter? I haven’t seen you cry in years.
"Those three lines on page 123, I’ve just been looking them up."
Let’s get on with it, then…
"So I lagged behind and made a circle over the town, and it was burning, all afire; it looked like Stalingrad had looked. Besides the streamer itself, we penned a letter to the Borisov Party Council. The letter said that we wished the inhabitants to restore the city, to flourish, continue peacetime jobs, and help people survive, while we continued our job at the front."
Taken from A Dance With Death: Soviet Airwomen in World War II by Anne Noggle
Of course, I had to read the entire account (which there isn’t time to go into) and here is the point that struck me like a lightning bolt:
How much impact can a word of encouragement carry? Especially in the face of such heavy losses and utter destruction as this town was experiencing? Even the highest declarations of comfort might be perceived as insult under these circumstances. Who would even dare to speak up at such a serious time?
Her name was Mariya Dolina, and she was a captain in a women’s combat squadron. Her fellow pilots had been so moved by the destruction they had seen that they risked reprimand (for which Mariya was later arrested) to throw a streamer with this message of hope down to the suffering people below. Was it worth it?
If you were to visit the Minsk Museum in Russia, you would still see this streamer with its original message on display today. Signed by Mariya Dolina. Only now she is referred to as, Captain Mariya Dolina, pilot, deputy commander of the squadron, Hero of the Soviet Union. She flew 72 combat missions and survived the war.
So, I make a pact with myself never to pass up any opportunity to encourage others – I must practice! Less I should one day find myself in such a moment…
And not even see the need.
What’s happening on the farm today: Spring fever! The weather is gorgeous, Pops is raking and burning leaves… and giving me five more minutes before I simply MUST get out there and enjoy some of it. Ahhh, Sundays!