Inspiration from a Stranger. (music by Yanni)

Until the Last Moment

This world is OURS
This world is OURS
Don't Cry for me....
Don't Cry for me....
Share your love and wisdom
Share your love and wisdom

Words can transform us

More than two decades ago, a friend passed me a page from a magazine and said simply, "I know you'll appreciate this." Thanking her, I placed it in my pocket as I hurried back to my office.

It wasn't until after five hours of verbal sparring, and some researching, that I kicked off my shoes and reached for my cold coffee. Another day, another headache.....let me see, what was that Denise handed me?........I began to read the crinkled page........

After awhile you learn, the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul.

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning and company doesn't mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts and presents aren't promises.

And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead, with the grace of a woman, not the pout of a child.

And you learn to build all your roads on today, because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans.....And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After awhile, you learn that even sunshine burns if you bask too long. So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn.....that you really can endure, that you really are strong, and you really do have worth.

And you learn......and you learn......with every good-bye......you learn.........

I was thoroughly entranced by the words I had just read, I wanted more. But all that was left was one bottom line, in parenthesis......(Norah......an anonymous woman in a Massachusetts prison)

Twenty plus years later, I vividly recall the thoughts that entered my mind. I recall unexpected emotion at that moment. I read it again.....and again.

I wanted to know this stranger named Norah, and so, I envisioned her. Imagining her, I could speak to her. The Norah of my imagination looked like so many young women I knew, even me. Her words, echoed words I'd heard before, softly uttered within my head. I felt her despair and confinement of a prison, yet the awareness and audacity to empower herself with hope and wisdom.

I found myself needing to confess that I was consumed by a self-imposed prison for many years. I began to accept that I myself may hold the key to be freed from this nightmare. But like a woman who had been confined, whose heart had been wrapped and placed aside, I feared liberation into a world of living with freedom.

And so, I saw that Norah was you and she was me. I could boldly ask her how a woman of such eloquent words and profound dreams, would be sharing her knowledge through steel bars from a cold, damp prison. I would ask her if she found a sense of self-worth and consciousness of purpose by pitting her soul against her memories of the depths of hell. Is it only while in darkness, we search for light? I could hear Norah's voice as she spoke to me.

"I sense your curiosity and feel your need to understand my circumstance. I see confusion in your eyes, yet compassion for my tortured soul. I believe my words have awakened the dormant desires of the woman within you. It frightens you to see how real she truly is.

You must not cry for me. I am building a stairway from Hell toward freedom once more. I prepare now to live again, protected by all the truths of life I have learned. I am finally strong enough to embrace the realness and wholeness of my being.

You have been where I am, where I have been and where I am going. You have fallen and broken and felt pain. You ran beyond your imagination and have seen through the veil of denial. All this and far more we can know if our hearts are softened and our eyes wide open.

Yes, Norah......we learn to plant our own garden and decorate our own soul.....and we learn that we are strong and really can endure. We have worth and we learn....and we learn.....

..

Never Feel Lonely

More by this Author


Comments 56 comments

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 11 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

perspy... So good to see you. I'm glad you like Yanni. His music is magical. I thought it was perfect for Norah's poem.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 11 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

I agree, Yanni is a craftsman. Sad his mush with the Mash Miss didn't hold together, but I will bet she and his mother had a love and respect for each other which survived. The music filled my composition space on this snowy, winter day.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 15 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

AF....Your comments are always a genuine joy to receive. There is absolute truth in what you say about the profound affect of words.

Couldn't agree with you more about Yanni....and he's sure isn't a struggle to LOOK AT either, girlfriend!! LOL...Peace, Paula


Au fait profile image

Au fait 15 months ago from North Texas

Great wisdom, and Norah was able to share it and make a difference in the world even from her prison cell. I wonder if everyone who writes online realizes the power they have and how easily their words can be read around the world within minutes. With the Internet the ripples go much further and there's no telling what affect one's words may have on people we will never know, how their thinking or their lives may be affected, and who they will share our ideas and thoughts and words with. The keyboard, like the pen before it, can be a mighty and powerful thing . . .

Pinned to Awesome HubPages, Posted on FB. Sharing with followers. I love Yanni. He's a musical genius. Hope you are having a great day!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 20 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Phew!!! I'm glad yesterday is over. I can't go through that again until next year! It get tougher to celebrate!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 20 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Was it a cuckoo bird?? LOL


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 20 months ago from Orlando, FL

A little bird told me it is your birthday! Who am I kidding...I don't need a bird to tell me...Happy Birthday my Effer!!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 22 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

True words I can only agree with, au fait. It shouldn't be any other way. For how else do we become the women we are meant to be and reach the heights we strive to reach?

We walk, then run and stumble and fall. Only the strong survive and when we embrace that strength, we learn and we thrive.

Thank you always for your thoughtful input.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 22 months ago from North Texas

Isn't it funny how we all have to learn these truths for ourselves? Maybe the reason it takes some of us so long is that with time we are also building strength. If we knew all these things at the beginning of our journey we might be overwhelmed or afraid, but as we gain strength through experience we also gain knowledge and wisdom, one day at a time.

A wonderful first article. Voted up, BUI, also shared.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

weestro

timetraveler

I most definitely agree.......profound advice can come from anyone at anytime.....we never know. It's so true that a few words spoken, at a crucial time, can be magical and change our life. Sometimes, a simple sentence can begin an earnest search for truth and goodness. Thank you for your visit and your comments........Peace.


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 3 years ago

THIS was a magnificent piece of writing! I once met a stranger who said something to me that changed my entire life. I never got her name, but I will never forget her.


weestro profile image

weestro 3 years ago from Virginia

Inpiration can come from anywhere...enjoyed this. Thanks!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

I'm actually watching the Golden Globes. It's very entertaining even though Keith Urban lost to Adele for motion picture song. It's ok, he's way better looking;)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

LOL....I never know where I'll see you poking your pretty head in!.....What are you doing this evening?....roaming the streets, looking for random people, places and hubs?....I do that sometimes. Be careful! Stay away from dark alley ways.....you could run into some of the cuckoo birds in our midst!.........Oh yes, they live here too.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

Your first hub! You've come a long way Effer and you keep on getting better and better!! Woohooo to YOU!!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Eddy....I thank you from the bottom of my heart...You are too sweet!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Only one word needed here:Brilliant!!!!

Eddy.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thanks so much Michael. I think we both recognize "Human Nature," when we see it!


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

This was a fascinating read. We go through life seeing glimpses of what could be and what can be.

You comment

'Is it only while in darkness, we search for light?'

Seems to be the truth of it, in my experience.

When life is burbling along we can miss so much. Only when something diverts this flow, do we see alternate states of being. That we could take.

Voted up and 4/5 buttons.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Phyllis.....wonderful and wise thoughts. Thank you for visiting and wish for peace......I wish you the same........


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Great hub, Paula. I really enjoyed it. It often takes a half a life-time or more for some of us to find the woman within -- and when we do the energy and love we feel for her is powerful. Femininity is not the weaker, it is the epitome of womanhood and the power of the soul that brings into our balance with others. May you always walk in peace and harmony.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Nyamche.....Yes, a very true and profound thought.....we cannot know what tomorrow may bring. Peace, my friend.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Docmo....Hi there Pig Sty....I miss ya, my man in the can.

I love this poem by "Norah," the anonymous woman.......my favorite line is...."We learn to plant our own garden, instead of waiting for someone to bring us flowers."..................Peace, my friend


Nyamache profile image

Nyamache 4 years ago from Kenya

This hub reminds me that each day is a fresh day and yesterday should be forgotten. I agree with the sentiment that, "you learn to build all your roads on today, because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans.....And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight."


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

This is a truly inspirational message and i love the story of how you came upon it. there is so much wisdom in those words and eve though we don't know exactly how this came to be, the message lives on, thanks to your beautifully written hub, Paula. Glad I read this.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much for stopping by.....I appreciate your comment. There are many messages in this poem written by a mystery woman....we might all take away a different meaning......Peace.


KenWu profile image

KenWu 4 years ago from Malaysia

I believe the note could be the greatest gift that we can share it with the ones we love.. .and yes, with strangers too.

God bless,


Peanutritious profile image

Peanutritious 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

I loved this. I used to find it hard to get my head round why certain people have a profound effect on you despite only talking to you once. Yet others, you see day in day out but make no impression on you in any way. It's a funny old world! There are so many people out there that frankly disappoint me in terms of their behaviour and attitudes, it restores your faith in human nature when you meet a kindred spirit. Fabulous first hub!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Vinaya... Why, Thank you very much, kind man. I am so flattered by your words....and I believe as you do that words can be most powerful and influential!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

According to the Hindu World View, word is God, what ever is expressed through words, always influence people. Your words are sublime, sometimes ethereal, and very sonorous to ears.

There is profound depth in your writing.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Victoria....Know how OLD this is? It was about my 3rd or 4th hub....when I was just a tiny newborn Hubette!

Yes...she really was incarcerated...that's what impressed me from the start.

I've had all sorts of fantasies about why such an intelligent woman would wind up in a Prison.....I finally decided, she probably killed her husband or boy friend after years of horrendous abuse.....her poem kind of sends me in that direction.....Thanks for commenting!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Wow. Powerful words. Those words were actually written by someone in prison? Amazing. Talk about accepting one's circumstances and coming to grips with it. Glad I came across this one! Many votes. Beautiful!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Bobbi...This is an old hub, yes.....Sunshine shared it for some reason. I'm glad she did, because it didn't do too well with traffic, the first time around. Glad you appreciated it.

I was very impressed wth this message for "norah," when I read it so many years ago......Thanks for stopping by, my friend.


PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 4 years ago from Florida

fpherj48,

This is a double mind-blowing night—first the story is remarkable from a woman in prison reaching out in an effort to help others---maybe because no one helped her---a repented Angel---climbing the steps of freedom.

And then this your first hub—after I have seen that pretty smiling face all over HubPages, I am astounded, and happy I am commenting on your first hub.

Your Hub Friend,

Bobbi


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

I'm glad Norah cold make you feel warm and fuzzy. She'd probably be proud. I haven't given up hope that one day, she comes across this hub and know her words, so many years ago, left a lasting impression on many.

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your comment.


Kathleen Kerswig 4 years ago

Stories like this always make me feel warm and fuzzy. The Universe seems to be very good at orchestrating a set of circumstances perfectly in order for us to be inspired in just the right way. Thank you for sharing Norah's words and your vision of her. Well done. Voted up and beautiful.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

I've always wanted to know exactly who Norah was/is...Could have searched in some way as adopted children do when looking for their birth parents...but...you know how that goes. I'd ask her a thousand questions.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

That would be so cool to have Norah stumble upon this awesome hub!


jaykatt profile image

jaykatt 5 years ago from Covina, California

Stranger things have happened...


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Jaykatt...to be accurate, it was my 1st. "Title" but 4th hub. To be fair, I've been writing for a local magazine for 5 years, as well as writing short stories, news articles, political speeches and training manuals....for what seems like forever. Sadly, we'll never know what "Norah" was aware of all those years ago....Unless, miraculousy she stumbles upon hubpages! Wouldn't that blow me away!!?


jaykatt profile image

jaykatt 5 years ago from Covina, California

Wow, this was your first hub? I'm very impressed by your creativity, and you've done Norah a service by spreading her beautiful words even further. Do you think she knew, all those years ago, that her words and thoughts would continue to be spread and to help people decades later?


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Jaye....This is exciting for me! In all the years I have been sharing "Norah's" poetic message, YOU are the very first to tell me that you saw it years ago as well!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

I found those very profound words in print a couple of decades ago and was, like you, inspired by them. Over the years, I've shared them more times than I can recall with other women who seemed to be going through rough times in their lives or needed more self-esteem.

Very good hub. Welcome to Hubpages....Jaye


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Cogerson, your kudos means so much to me....truly...better than kisses and promises! Thank you


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Very nicely done....Norah wrote some powerful words...my favorite would be Kisses are not contracts and presents are not promises.....like others have commented you can learn lots from a stranger....great hub and even more impressive great first hub.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Pretty darned awesome, just like you ladies!


Smalltowngrl1375 profile image

Smalltowngrl1375 5 years ago from Lafayette, Indiana

^ how awesome is that!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

Hello friend!

I used to live on Huckleberry Finn Drive which was off of Mark Twain Blvd. I gained alot of wisdom living there for 11 years :)

(I'm serious, it's a residential community in Orlando)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Peggy W....sweet of you to welcome me. Thank you, it feels good to be a part of the Hub community.


Smalltowngrl1375 profile image

Smalltowngrl1375 5 years ago from Lafayette, Indiana

That's a great saying :)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

You really are a ray of sunshine. Hmmm...was it Mark Twain who said that strangers are just friends we haven't met yet? Good bye Stranger....Hello, Friend!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

What wonderful lines of wisdom shared on that piece of paper. We should all learn to incorporate those words and feelings into our daily lives. Welcome to HubPages!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

Congratulations on publishing your first hub. Outstanding! I've learned so much from strangers and they'll never know it. A good friend of mine reminds me almost daily, to "pay it forward" and that's my mission to continue to give back as my thanks to all the strangers that have inspired me. Thank you for your wisdom :)


Smalltowngrl1375 profile image

Smalltowngrl1375 5 years ago from Lafayette, Indiana

Haha, maybe it's our small town girl roots, that make us friendly and less cautious. I know my town was pretty safe, so I sometimes forget all of the violence in bigger cities.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

From one smalltowngirl to another....You've said a mouthful. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your wisdom. It's a matter of keeping our minds open and our fears in check, being mindful of dangers that can hover. Come back and talk to me again!!


Smalltowngrl1375 profile image

Smalltowngrl1375 5 years ago from Lafayette, Indiana

I think strangers offer THE BEST inspiration. I've always said the best advice comes from the person you'd least expect to say it. & Strangers just offer this viewpoint that's different, from the people you normally see and hangout with. It's a wonderful thing, and it's a shame that we have to be so cautious about strangers and violence these days, otherwise who knows, the world could be a different, more friendly place.

Thanks for sharing :D

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    fpherj48 profile image

    Paula (fpherj48)843 Followers
    94 Articles

    Paula has freelanced for nearly 40 years. She has a passion for her forte of Behavioral Science & continuing education in this field.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working