February 2, 2013

Honor found in staying the course

My friend laughs at me for not having a self-image. 

It’s not that I have a bad self-image, I just don’t have one at all, she says.

I have to check with her on things like: Am I tall? Do I have a big face? Is my neck short and stubby? 

I don’t know if this is common, but I have never been able to look in a mirror and assess whether I am pretty. I gauge my attractiveness (or lack) from other people’s reactions to me. They are my mirror.

For a long time, I viewed myself as an extreme person. I don’t know if this originated from my youth when I had only two moods, rage or euphoria. There were times when I engaged in extreme dieting and exercise for days (hours) at a time and then reverted to couch potato for extended periods (days). 

My life’s goal was to be a champion for children. I wanted to rescue individual children from horrific circumstances. I wanted to galvanize lawmakers and politicians into overhauling a tired and weak child-welfare system. I wanted to be an avenger of wrongs and healer of broken hearts. But somewhere along my crusade, I discovered that I hate conflict.

Cowardice is a devastating character flaw for any superhero.

Several years ago, I was speaking passionately to a child’s law guardian about bringing down the family who had betrayed him and the system that had failed him. 

The law guardian smiled at me and said, “Mary, that’s not who you are. You weren’t meant to fight. You were meant to bring peace.”

Wow. Her words were a blessing. I had become so focused on what I lacked that I was blind to what I might have to offer.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Mulholland_Jonathan.jpg Running tips to get you in top form

    Different limb lengths, tighter muscles, stiffer joints, prior injuries all play role in determining your running style, Jonathan Mulholland writes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • clute_cropped.jpg When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walace_Jolene 7-12_cropped.jpg Let these tips on planting trees take root

    You may think that digging a hole and plopping the tree in will suffice, and it will if you only want the tree to live a short time, columnist Jolene Wallace writes.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • amy_ivy.jpg Is it time to plant? Not yet

    All we can do is wait and see how things get through, columnist Amy Ivy writes.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time