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While I stitch, I ponder self-reliance, and as I re-read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essay II: Self-Reliance, these words capture me:

What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text, in the face and behaviour of children, babes, and even brutes! That divided and rebel mind, that distrust of a sentiment because our arithmetic has computed the strength and means opposed to our purpose, these have not. Their mind being whole, their eye is as yet unconquered, and when we look in their faces, we are disconcerted. Infancy conforms to nobody: all conform to it, so that one babe commonly makes four or five out of the adults who prattle and play to it. So God has armed youth and puberty and manhood no less with its own piquancy and charm, and made it enviable and gracious and its claims not to be put by, if it will stand by itself. Do not think the youth has no force, because he cannot speak to you and me. Hark! in the next room his voice is sufficiently clear and emphatic. It seems he knows how to speak to his contemporaries. Bashful or bold, then, he will know how to make us seniors very unnecessary.

” . . . mind being whole, their eye is as yet unconquered, and when we look in their faces, we are disconcerted.” Those words especially demand my attention and make me think of Nancy.

I think of so many people who have the faculties and ability to be self-reliant but steadfastly refuse, insisting instead on living their life as a victim, as perpetually put-upon, as one who is entitled. They prefer dependency, finding self-reliance too hard, too heavy, unfair. Then I think of Nancy who is self-reliant only in the realm of physiologically involuntary reflexes, and I ponder and wonder some more.



She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning.