When you think back on your life of quotes, those given to you, those read, which ones stand out to you? Which ones offer direction for how you live? Or simply whisper wisdom? When I think on this question two quotes come to mind as the ones that ring loudest and most often.
I was caring for an elderly lady some years ago and told her that I wanted to be a veterinarian. I later changed my mind and started an herbal line of medicines for animals instead but her advice is still relevant today. I said something about being thirty-eight years old by the time I finished.
“You will be that age before you know it so you may as well be doing what you want.” she advised.
I started school but did not finish due to family responsibilities, costs, and life went on. But now I would like to finish my teaching degree. I would love to work with “spirited” kids. Older teens to early twenties. College maybe, high school likely. Maybe a director of somewhere that encourages youth. Or history. Or culture. By the time I get my master’s degree I will be forty-six years old at the very least. Then Marsha’s words ring in my mind and I may as well see. Why not? I’ll be there soon enough.
Fast forward and I am sitting in the living room of a respected Native elder who has entrusted me with the words he wishes to share with his children. I listen. I want to be a bigger part of the Native community. I want folks to know I make powerful medicine. I want to have a sense of belonging. What if I am not accepted? I didn’t know if I needed invitations to places. I didn’t know how to get involved.
“Just show up.” he said soundly. “Just show up.”
So Doug and I took Maryjane to a Cherokee Circle meeting in Denver even though it was over an hour drive. My best friend from middle and high school came with her family. Her granddaughter is the very same age as Maryjane. We showed up and were welcomed. If we don’t embrace our culture it will be gone. We have missed too many generations of traditions and community. If not us, the grandmothers, then who? So we showed up. And it was wonderful.
What quotes have stayed with you?