Support and encouragement is not a bad thing at all

Merrilyn Huycke is a local artist who will share her thoughts, ideas, memories and humour with our readers on a weekly basis.

Having been slowed up for the past couple of weeks with a relatively insignificant case of vertigo, I’ve been spending more time thinking than doing. This is not something that comes easily to me. I can’t believe how fidgety I get just envisioning this. There are many opportunities to rest and take it easy but the trick is to soothe and slow the mind while doing so. I’ve been doing my best and my go-to activity is to read books (Wolf Willow by Wallace Stegner) and research on the internet. I know, I know, that’s not really resting but it does slow the body down, if not the mind and doesn’t seem to involve head bobbing or bending over, the two things which can make me very dizzy. I am not very graceful in my restricted state!

Today, I did my usual check of Facebook. There is a lot to be said for and against social media. I shamelessly admit I use it to stay up to date with my children’s activities. My grandchildren are featured often and although others may be bored, I think they are the most amazing people in the world. For example, I am in the middle of an across-the-board painting trade with Laura who is four and a half. I am able to see her progress because her mom posts photos of her painting one of her specialities, a brightly colored gigantic heart. Her color sense is impeccable. See what I mean? My other four and a half year old granddaughter, Callista, is more inclined toward architectural endeavors and the latest photo of her posted by her mom shows her helping her dad with a serious renovation of her bedroom. She is very organized and often keeps her dad grounded in reality I’ve noticed.

After enjoying these posts, I scrolled down to read another that a friend had shared. I found myself in tears, watching the courageous young woman, Malala and listening to part of her speech to the UN. If you recall, she is the person who was shot in the head by extremists who were trying to stop her campaign to see girls in Pakistan allowed the same educational rights as boys. She speaks with much conviction. She has been made stronger by her horrific experience and has received enduring support from her father and mother, as well as many people from her own country. She did not lose her gifts for reading, writing and public speaking and she will be a force to be reckoned with for many years if she is able to continue with her quest. Although it would be a stretch to call checking Facebook every morning doing research, it hasn’t escaped my buzzy mind that the juxtaposing of the much loved little Canadian grandchildren across from the young woman from Pakistan creates something profound to contemplate. All are equally loved. Yet, all are not equally protected. How can this be?

I would like to think that Malala’s struggle is nearly over but history says, “No.”

In the meantime, one thing I do know. Even though I grow older and will eventually find myself more reliant on others and forced into unwilling physical inactivity, I can still love my family with all my heart and I can support and encourage them in the same way that Malala’s parents have done for her. And that’s not a bad thing!