By Lynda Shadbolt
Each of US has the opportunity every day to shine our light into the world. To be a force of kindness compassion joy wisdom and creativity. We all can connect with others to inspire and support and be inspired and supported. We all have the potential to shine brightly.
I attended the Winter Folk Camp this year once again and like every year a local person is sponsored by the Haliburton County Folk Society to attend the event. This year the board of the folk society chose to sponsor Anne Petelka a 29-year-old woman with special needs who lives in Minden. Anne is an active member of the Association for Community Living and loves music and really loves to dance.
She attends many of the local musical events on a regular basis and is often seen close to the stage dancing. Anne and her respite worker Cindy attended the full folk camp and Anne participated in the “joy of singing.” On Sunday morning all 80 participants gather to sing in a gospel sing-along led by participants. Every year it brings tears to my eyes. Eighty people singing in harmony. If you have ever met Anne you will know that she emits pure joy when she sings. As we all sang together there were many moments when Anne stood and was smiling singing and moving with joy. I felt like she was expressing the joy that all of us in the circle were feeling but were too self-conscious to display ourselves. Everyone in the room felt her joy. Her smile. Her radiance. It was a gift to everyone.
Everyone felt happier and lighter because of her. And Anne did this all weekend: at the concerts at meal times and in workshops. She was given the gift of attending the weekend and she gave us the gift of joy just by being who she is. The whole weekend was even happier because of her. Her energy impacted everyone. Her light was shining brightly.
This weekend I am in Toronto and have had the pleasure to visit Jennifer Paton a couple of times. And here I witness another light in the world. I arrive onto her floor at the rehab centre and quickly can see that she is part of a community of people who are healing. Jennifer is so positive. Her face is bright and her smile is huge. She has so many stories to tell about the people she is now living and working with and so many stories of support and love that she and her family have received from our community and her very large community of friends. She talks about waking up in St. Michael’s wrapped in a knitted blanket from one of our churches. She has received a book a day because people know she loves to read. Her cards are piled high. She has had so many visitors from Haliburton and beyond. Cottagers who live in Toronto stop in regularly.
Jennifer talks about the doctors nurses occupational therapists and physiotherapists who she is working with and how amazing they are. She has nothing but positive energy about her. Her light is shining brightly and that is making all the difference.