Monday, February 23, 2015

Dolly Clare

Sometimes fictional characters can teach us a lot about how to look at life's ups and downs.

There is a British series of books dealing with life in a small village that was written by Dora Saint and whose major connecting character is Miss Read.  While she is a wonderful character, it was always Miss Clare that I was most drawn to.

Miss Clare grew up  and lived her life in genteel poverty.  She became a pupil teacher (non-certified, think Laura Ingalls) and worked as an infants teacher for over 40 years.  Her betrothed was a victim of WWI so she lived out her life without the family and children of her dreams.

Her bank account was never large but her life and heart were overflowing.

It is not about what you have, it is about how you approach and deal with what life throws at you.

Dolly Clare knew the value of family and friends.  She opened her heart and her life to those around her and reaped the rewards of "extended family", even when there were no blood ties.

Her students became the children she never had and she lavished upon them the care, concern and wisdom she had in abundance.

She gardened and preserved the fruits of that garden.  And all of those beautifully prepared jars of goodness meant that when she felt the desire to help others in need she had the wherewithal to do so.

She sewed, knit, crocheted, mended and cared for the items she owned.  Linen was darned, sweaters were knit, skirts and dresses were sewn and all were looked after to make sure they lasted and always looked new.

Furniture inherited from her family was reupholstered by her.  China was lovingly washed.  Silver was polished.  These were true family heirlooms and treasures.

The beauty to be found in nature for free soothed her troubles and gave strength when needed.

Life was faced with a smile, serenely, without self pity for what was not had but with thankfulness for what was.

When I grow up I want to live a life that mirrors Dolly Clare.  In doing so I hope it will make the world just a little bit better.

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