Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Women - Leading By Example
I love to read the history of pioneer women. I take notes everywhere I go and I use them when I write my blog. Often, the notes prompt me to go home and look up more information. Such was the case when I first heard about Emmeline B Wells.
This was a righteous woman who had many, many trials. The more I read about her, the more amazed I am at her ability to persevere and overcome. She married three times, and lost all three husbands. She also lost her first baby soon after he was born. She was a convert to the church when she was 14 years old. She went to Navoo with the saints and then went on to Salt Lake City. Later in her life she was called to head up a grain program for the chruch. She was so successful at it, that the first grain to come to San Francisco after the great fire in 1906, arrived from Salt Lake City. Also, the church was able to sell some of the stored, surplus grain, during World War One to the United States. She received a personal visit and Presidential Commendation for her efforts from Woodrow Wilson.
She was a lobbyist from Utah and championed the cause of women's sufferage. She was a writer and later on, became an editior of a Mormon Women's magazine in Utah. She also belonged to many of the more prevalent women's organizations of that day, and associated with women from all walks of life all over the United States. She lived to be ninety three years old and was active all her life, both in the church and in the community of women.
As I read snippets of her history, I was able to learn from her example. In spite of all her trials, she never let them get her down. She just kept on doing what she felt was right. She lived in a very different world than we do today. In her time, there were many things that women could not do, yet she did not let that stop her from helping others. I hope that I can be more like her in my life. That I could see a need, catch a vision, and work to fill it.
I wonder what she was like? How she spoke, and how she sounded? I wonder what types of things she said and did for those around her. I know that she was independant and self supporting. I know that she was a true leader for the many women who looked up to her.
When I look at her example, I can see the power that one woman can have to change her own corner of the world. It wasn't easy, it probably wasn't very fun, but it had lasting consequences for all the rest of us that have come after her.
A life-size bust of Emmeline sits in the Utah state capitol building, the lone woman among men, to be honored for over seventy years of service and dedication. The simple inscription states: "A Fine Soul Who Served Us."
She wrote many poems as well as articles and was well known for her written word. One of her many poems which I like states:
"My life has not been all calm and serene,
But storms and clouds were thick upon my way;
Yet here and there sometimes would intervene
Bright hours of sunshine in the darkest day.
And so I've traveled on, and sought to be
Some help to other wanderers like me."
Today, I have learned that sometimes the best way to heal a broken heart is to give it away to those around us who need our efforts and our love. I hope that we will each find a little bit of the courage and tenacity of this wonderful pioneer woman.