Thursday, August 28, 2008

Today is "Love Nie" day

...and there is no shortage of reasons to do just that.

Design Mom proposed a web-wide Nie-fest today, and despite feeling tiny and insignificant in it all, I can't help but participate. I feel pretty involved and invested for a blog stalker. Stephanie intimidated me to pieces. She was doing what I was trying to do as a wife and mother, but she was doing it well and enjoying it. It gave me hope that it was possible to be an intelligent human being and still be exhuberantly positive, and that people wouldn't be annoyed out of their minds by it. My spiritual jaw dropped at her complete willingness to snatch up missionary opportunities and share her whole self and testimony at the drop of a hat..... and do it without being awkward or abrasive. And she had the same uninhibited zeal in the love she expressed to her husband and kids. My world and my life are so encroached upon by cynicism that I don't think I'd have thought much of that to be possible if she hadn't proved it to me. I gleaned a terrific breath of optimism and energy from reading her, even if I hadn't much hope that I'd ever be anything like her. I'm not certain where all my inhibitions came from, but I know even less how to shake them.

I always considered her a species apart from me. Apart from the fundamentals of marriage and motherhood I found so few similarities in our circumstances. Suddenly she was in a burn-trauma unit in Phoenix and all my suppressed memories from 12 years ago sprang back into focus, with the added benefit of retrospect. I was a family member, a daughter, waiting eternally, trying not to spread germs, looking for characteristics that I recognized. Trying to keep disturbing similes from creating themselves in my head. Trying to hold on to fragments of order and familiarity for my younger siblings. A burn-trauma waiting room is an uncanny place. Everyone there has either a ghostly look on their face or an unimaginably tired one. Nobody ever expects to be there, and nobody is given any warning that they will be. There's not a great deal of talking that goes on, but there's still an unspoken sympathy for one another that sits heavily in the space. At the moment, the other people in that same room are the only ones that understand you.

Oh, how I ache for her little children! They've had positively charmed lives thanks to their mother, and while I trust family will love them to pieces and do their best, gaping holes are going to have lasting consequences. It's made me infinitely more patient with Sir O this week. It feels like such a blessing to be able to be his mother and be WITH him, ALL THE TIME. Granted, it's not feeling like a "happy" blessing just now, I'm really pretty overwhelmed with emotional aching at the thought of all the implications for the Nielsons. But a profound, kind of sad grateful feeling that burns from the tips of my toes.

My experiences and memories have made this a particularly poigniant and personal time for me. Lady Nie, across the country, whom I've never met or spoken to, and rarely had the courage to leave a comment for in fear of seeming a sycophant, is finally having an experience where I feel like I could say something useful to her. I did send a letter, though I fear it will be swallowed up in the sea of well-wishes that will probably overwhelm the hospital mail capacities. I feel like she gave me so much courage, encouragement, and optimism and now she so desperately needs it back.

So, if you could use a little perspective adjustment; if you want to believe that things are possible that you've given up on, or even if you just wonder what I'm going on about, you might benefit from browsing Nie's archives, and see if you aren't moved to act.
Aside from the organized online donation, there are other things you can do being posted here, here, and here.

Quite naturally, some of the best ways to support Nie are also the most charming. I can't help fervently praying that someone so enigmatic will be spared that she can continue to exemplify loveliness for those of us who desperately need it spelled out for us.


Little Sweethearts said...

I found your post through Design Mom. What a wonderful post you have written in honour of Nie.

katieo said...


It gave me hope that it was possible to be an intelligent human being and still be exhuberantly positive, and that people wouldn't be annoyed out of their minds by it.

spot on. I feel the same way.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I just read Nie's post about Mothers you had linked on here, and it was amazing. What a wonderful example to all of us mothers out there. I have been checking her progress on how she is doing for a few days, and I had never even heard of her blog. I hope and pray she will be able to recover soon. Your post was beautiful Em.

TX Girl said...

I had to comment.

Thank you for summing up so beautifully what I have been feeling. As many others have expressed, if I could be a smitten of the woman Nie is.. it will be a good life.

R-Eight said...

So lovely, thank you for your thoughts.

E n D said...

That was beautiful. I had never heard of Nie until a few days ago. I've looked at her blog and she truly is an amazing person. And so are you!

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