Fact or Fiction — are most Historical Accounts True?

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"Americana" acrylic on canvas

“Americana” acrylic on canvas

I was sitting at my PC waiting for inspiration when my eyes caught sight of a binder on the lower shelf of our book case: “Covering America’s Past.” This brought a chuckle and I leaned down further in order to read the full title: “Discovering America’s Past.”

See what happens when you leave out only three letters. Do you wonder, as I do, how much of history is true. What has been altered, covered up or changed ever so slightly? It seems that each time a new party comes into power, the media and the administration tweak their achievements and failures here and there; and before you know it, major parts have been redacted or omitted.

Dating sites and Facebook accounts are replete with sins of omission. Calendar age may be lowered. Photos of the past are used instead of present ones. A bright and sunny profile as seen through rose-colored glasses replaces a more truthful record of past history. A fudge here, a twist there until the facts become fiction.

"Through her eyes" original drawing; live sitting

“Through her eyes” original drawing; live sitting

I had a dear aunt who simply could not tell the truth. She tried to outdo everyone. She wanted others to see her as she wanted to be seen, not as she really was. Everyone knew it and kindly listened to her stories, allowing her the satisfaction of completion. She was really a dear when it came to helping others and cheering them up. I suspect a low self-esteem kept her from being herself.

Love and tolerance sometimes demand that we accept people as they are. A positive attitude can change the way we see people and their human weaknesses. Unfortunately, we live in a society that not only expects perfection, but gloats over exposing human error.

My favorite saying has always been “There, but for the grace of God go I.” This simply implies that if I or anyone else had walked in the guilty person’s footsteps, we may have committed the same crime. In other words, we are all sinners and in need of forgiveness.

"Kindred Spirits II" acrylic on canvas

“Kindred Spirits II” acrylic on 30 x 24 canvas

The quote is attributed to John Bradford, but was also given credit to someone else even before his time. Winston Churchill repeated the phrase during his lifetime. Whoever said it first does not really matter since it is actually a paraphrase from Biblical scripture. The point is that we should be compassionate and empathetic with our fellow human beings and not so quick to condemn or criticize.

Of course, there are consequences for mistakes and sins. Some of them satisfied by a resolution of forgiveness, and others punishable by law. Thinking before you act and weighing the consequences can save you pain, anguish and punishment.

Illness always reminds us of our Fragile Humanity

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Looking Outward (16 x 20) acrylic; frame: Old Window

Looking Outward (16 x 20) acrylic; frame: Old Window

I was bitten by a brown recluse spider one Christmas; a near fatal experience that increased my faith. I had severe bronchitis one year that ended up being the turning point for change in a long and difficult marriage.

This year it was traveling by plane to a wedding. Somewhere along the way I picked up a virus (no wonder when the plane was filled with crying, coughing children and barking dogs). I vowed I would never fly again during the holidays, but how could I miss my grandson’s wedding?

The festivities brought my three daughters and me together for the first time in years. Since all of us live great distances from each other, the wedding gave us a welcome chance to share stories and laughs.

The reunion also brought back treasured memories of my own mother who always shared her joy of life through laughter and tears. Relationships are the glue that heals all wounds. Without them, we would shrivel up inside.

During a difficult period in my life, my friend Alice gave me a prayer plant. “It will remind you of where your strength comes from,” she said. Sure enough, every evening as the sun went down, the prayer plant extended its leaves upward. I was reminded to turn to God more often, and I also remembered my friend.

When a move across country forced me to leave the plant behind, I photographed it. Sometime later, I created an oil painting of the plant sitting beside a garden glove and a trowel. The painting still hangs in my kitchen. Whenever I look at it, I remember my friend and her reminder to reach up in times of need. Her priceless gift of love was simple and inexpensive, but never forgotten.

My dear mother died of lung cancer and I will always regret not being there for her when she needed me most. I was working full time and would have lost my job and my home if I’d taken six months off to assist her. Looking back, I wish I’d have done it. I lost precious time being with her. Like my daughters, I was separated from my mother by time and distance.

Sometimes the things that matter most suffer by the things that matter least. What seems important at the time loses its value on close examination. People always matter more than things. Our possessions tarnish with time. Everything wears out with use. Love and the relationships that grow out of unconditional lasting love endure and weather the ups and downs of turbulence and trouble.