by Elizabeth Hemmerdinger | bio

We were 18 for dinner Christmas night. Our children, their spouses, four grandchildren, in-laws, and four dear friends. A family in which we delight and who look forward to coming together, as they have done for years, to celebrate any number of things.

Wonderful Helen brought us this from George Bernard Shaw:

This is the true joy of life — being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me, it is a sort of splendid torch, which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it to future generations.

Below it, Helen wrote: “Dearest Elizabeth, You embody these words. Thank you for setting such a high standard. Love, Helen.”

Well, you could have blown me over with a feather. But if what Helen says is even partially true, then I pass on to my family and friends and our readers at WVFC — see you on the scrap heap, which, as I come to think of it, is indeed more appealing to me than rocking endlessly on the back porch.

There’s much to be done. Let’s get to it. Happy New Year!

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  • Laura Sillerman December 26, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    What greater wish can there be than “to be used for a purpose?”
    This encompasses the purposes of loving, of having children, of giving to society, of creating art, of getting out of oneself and away from one’s selfish little clod self.
    Women’s Voices for Change set out to recognize the essential nature of women– and that is that we ARE forces of nature. It’s no surprise that Elizabeth’s friend, Helen, celebrates that in her and that she reminds us all to rally to the call to the scrap heap.
    I look forward to joining her and all of you there.