Oz Newsflash: Last Surviving Munchkin Dies at age 98, Jme 2018
– Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz
from Season II in 2014
Stand Inside Belief
by Kendall F. Person
When Dorothy was swept into the land of Oz, she became a folk hero, by defeating the wicked witch of the west, saving all of her new friends from certain death in the process. While Oz was in celebration, Dorothy was blue. She had no desire to be the kingdom’s new ruler, all she wanted, all she ever wanted was to go home. As it turned out, after all that she had been through, Dorothy held the power to go home all along. All she had to do was believe.
There exists a reality that we cannot control. In the game of life, chance plays a spoiler role. But living our lives under the constraints of a possibility, no matter how remote, that something will happen, that will change our lives for the better or worse, is unproductive at best. We believe our prayers will find answers, but do not trust the answer when it appears. We believe if we say it often enough, but never take steps to do it, our talk of turning pro will be true, Afraid to look inside, for the fear of failing outweighs the thrill of trying. We stand on high ground (still underneath the sky) believing society has fallen into decay, yet refusing to include ourselves as a part of the process, in the downfall or solution.
I believe, however, those are the exceptions, and this is the rule; most believe that anything is possible: decreasing violent crime, eliminating famine, establishing peaceful relations among enemies, finding a cure for cancer or h.i.v., but have not stood inside ourselves long enough, to comprehend, that one person, can make a difference.
In 1973, a working mother named Crystal Lee Sutton, immortalized as ‘Norma Rae’ by Academy Award winning actress Sally Field, would be fired by her giant textile mill employer. Crystal Lee had sought to organize the 3000 southern textile workers into a union, to combat low wages, discuss the poor working conditions, and to address the needs of women, who were now entering the workforce in large numbers, of which many were mothers. But her powerful and well-connected employer, was entrenched socially and politically, and would play a ruthless game, to protect the profits of its elite and board members. So they decided to make a spectacle of the firing, to humiliate her was not enough. They needed to crush the hopes of the masses and put an end to all that union talk. But Crystal Lee believed in what she stood for, taking a moment to look inside herself. Then she stared down the police officers summoned to oust her, and fought back using the tools at her disposal. In one of Labor Movements defining moments, Crystal Lee Sutton wrote UNION on a piece of cardboard, jumped atop a table, holding the sign high enough for all to see. Her belief spilled outward, as moments later, the workers would shut down all the machines, forcing her employer, to take a seat at the bargaining table.
She was born the daughter of a storekeeper, and an accomplished violinist. She grew up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and by all accounts she was an average woman, living a normal life. In 1984, following the death of her husband Ray, Joan Kroc, as the sole heir to the McDonald’s empire, would become of the richest women on earth. She, no doubt, lived an extraordinary life, for the magnitude of her wealth, offered comforts that exist, on a plain very few will ever know or understand. But Joan Kroc also had a strong belief. Not in, if she could make a difference, but in how big of one it could be.
She would devise a plan, as how to best serve the people, and in 1990, her belief in philanthropy, would define her as a human being. She gave $15 million to the Grand Forks region to rebuild after a catastrophic flood. $18.5 million to San Diego Hospice to improve their ability to treat. $87 million to the Salvation Army of San Diego, $225 million to National Public Radio (NPR), and for an encore (of which, she would never accept, as most donations were made anonymously), she would make the largest single donation ever, granting $1.6 billion to establish Salvation Army Centers across the nation. But what The Neighborhood holds dear is her belief, that peace is ours for the taking. The Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame, was established and endowed by Joan Kroc, herself.
Stand inside belief and see how it makes you feel. It is empowering, allowing us to reach for the stars, and win or lose, we have touched the sky in our trials. Stand inside a little longer, and feel the solace of self-belief. There is a comfort that exists only there, since it is the one place, that we are always okay. Belief leads to stronger communication, for we are better able to support our opinions and ideals, and comfortable in listening too. If we believe it, we can attempt to achieve it, by simply following Dorothy’s lead. Clicking our heels together may not make dreams come true, but knowing that a light exist inside of us, and has been there all along, means that fairytales can come true.
this is… The Neighborhood