Grace. Beauty. Fortitude.
by Sophia Louisa Lee, Board Member
I recently received a letter from my grandmother, which was very moving. She's 96 years old, and lives at home with my grandfather (who's 98!) and my mom in Arizona. Receiving this letter made me think of the first art exhibition I curated for Sophia Louisa Projects in 2009. It was called Grace Beauty Fortitude. These three words aptly describe my grandmother. Her entire life she has been beautiful, from the inside out. She has handled life with grace, regardless of the manifold of obstacles, and always has maintained a strength based in love throughout the years.
As society today is constantly being bombarded with information – whether legitimate or not - it can all become very overwhelming. Hearing tidbits here and there that is explosive, negative, or just tragic (suicides, car accidents, murders, natural deaths, oh, and of course, politics) can be just too much to take. How does someone take all this information in without falling apart? Does one become desensitized? Or all the more insular in her (or his) own little world? How does one learn the balance?
It is naive to believe that people can get along (think of it as eating different foods - some things you will like, some things you just won't - some things you'll dislike so much your stomach will turn into knots). It's not that you don't want to hate the food, you just don’t like it – sometimes you just downright hate it.
Is it really any different with people? Maybe it’s a chemistry thing – the same reason why people fall in love or adore someone can be the same chemicals that can make someone dislike or even hate someone. (That or generations of people being caught up in the mentality that other people just cannot be accepted – I find it fascinating that a diverse group of young children can play and interact with each other beautifully, but once adults get in the mix, they can greatly alter that freedom of acceptance.)
Can you imagine if everything and everyone were approached with grace, beauty and fortitude? To hold your position, but without attacking, without your stomach turning into knots, without wanting to scream and yell, but rather to maintain poise and respect?
Is it is too naïve to think that could happen? Maybe it is the “fight” or “flight” element that everyone has instinctually engrained to become enraged at someone for not agreeing with them. It’s interesting to see how even the slightest thing, even on social media, can upset someone if she (or he) doesn’t agree with it.
I recently read an article about Pinterest, about people heatedly disagreeing about a photo with a tag line that some found offensive, while others found hysterical.
Are there “rules” anymore? Or, with the internet and social media, is everything really just a free for all?
I like to think I have a lot of my grandmother in me, and I hope to be rocking and rolling when I'm well into my 90s. We are all different. But, really, we are all the same. The difference is how we approach situations.
As situations arise, no matter what they may be, may you embrace it with grace, beauty and fortitude. And maybe, just maybe, others will take your lead, and it will become contagious.
Sophia Louisa Lee is a board member of the NWPC-LA and works full time in a law firm.
Sophia is an artist and art enthusiast, an advocate for women’s and children’s rights (part of raising an amazing teenager daughter with Mosaic Down Syndrome), and a dreamer, always hoping for the best with grace, beauty and fortitude.