|Two of my favourite women in training.|
Since accepting the challenge I've been wracking my brain trying to think of someone to write about. It's not that I don't know any inspirational women, it's that I know so many. I have friends who are experts in their fields and friends who run charities and friends who work in government and friends who are doctors for the sick and lawyers for the poor. They are all inspirational women and we tell them so. They all chose their inspirational work and we are grateful that they did.
Then there are inspirational women who did not choose to be inspirational. I have a friend who is battling serious cancer whilst holding down a full-time job and holding it all together for her young children in between chemo treatments. Believe me, we would all rather she didn't have to be so inspirational even while we admire her courage, her strength and her determination.
I have a friend who is a single mother with a severely disabled daughter and another child with autism. I have more than one friend who adopted children with neurological and behavioral problems like Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, attachment disorder, ADHD, autism, and any number of other challenges that they didn't know about before the adoption. And other friends with disabled children. All of them endlessly caring and advocating for their beloved children with little thanks and little help. One friend in particular started a major organisation to include disabled and abled children in joint social activities. It's called Shutaf, take a look. She is a true inspiration.
I have a friend who lost her husband when their children were young and she brought up five children on her own, through the traumas of a sick father, the death of their father, and continuing to live without him. And every one of those children is a wonderful young adult. She is an inspirational woman.
I have friends who escaped from abusive marriages and started over with very little. Their courage is inspirational.
All these women inspire me and others. People say to them all the time, "you are amazing." And they answer, "what choice did I/do I have?"
And it doesn't end there. What about all the women nursing all sorts of trials and traumas in private that we know nothing about? Nobody even tells them they are amazing and still they carry on, putting family, children and jobs first. They just get on with it because there are bills to pay, children to love, educate, feed and clothe, a household to run, and a community to contribute to.
Women on their own who tirelessly give to society and to other people's children. Women with disabilities themselves or chronic illnesses who put on a brave face and carry on. All inspirations.
I sometimes watch "inspirational" videos on You Tube where female life coaches, expensively groomed and clothed and with million dollar teeth, tell you how you can have it all. You just have to get up and go for it. Sorry Honey, but the women that inspire me can't just get up and go for it because they have cancer or children with special needs or not enough money to step off the treadmill even for the time it takes to watch your dazzling white teeth dancing in front of the camera.
Not everyone can work in a corner office overlooking a Los Angeles marina. We need teachers for special education, we need nurses, we need social workers in deprived areas. (I know that men also do these jobs but today it's about the women.)
So Doreen, I'm writing to honour the inspirational women who just get on with it. The millions of women without fame or fortune who stand by their families and responsibilities, who put themselves last and who do whatever it takes to keep the system working and to survive. I see them all the time around Jerusalem. I work with some of them. They are the backbone and the heart of society and they inspire me.