A View From the Year 2020
A vision written in 2007 by Oralee Stiles ©
The fresh smell of hope fills the air. This is the year of CLARITY. We see with 20/20 vision. We hear encouraging news of the changes taking place. Our spirits lift. There is purpose in our stride as we gather together. We are mothers and grandmothers taking our stand in silence in the parks, at schools and in churches, mosques, synagogues, temples across the country and around the world.
Why do we gather? We are standing as we have for 15 years. Some of us stand every day; some on our Holy Days – Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The biggest gathering in the United States is on Mother’s Day.
As we stand in silence, we feel our unity. We stand for our children and grandchildren and for all children in the generations to come.
It all started very simply. Two grandmothers stood in silence in a park all day. If people asked what they were doing, they said they were standing to save the world. Many people laughed, some scoffed and some begun to stand with them. In a few days, women were standing all around the earth to save the world.
No one remembers whether this was a true story. Some say it was a grandmother’s vision and gift that took hold in the hearts of women. Sharon Mehdi wrote a story for her baby granddaughter in 2004, The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering. It inspired people, was widely read and is still in print. People shared the story through e-mails. Women in Ohio created a web site in many languages to spread the idea, http://www.standingwomen.net/
As women standing, we begun to think about what it means and what it would take to save the world. Possibilities begun to spring forth from our fertile minds. Standing in silence together gave us time and space to gestate, carry and give birth to our creativity. Inspiration made it flourish. Action made it real.
On this Mother’s Day 2020, we stand in the park in West Linn, Oregon, and around the world. We reflect on the myriad of absolutely amazing projects and connections that have happened in the last 13 years:
Mothers Mourning – created by women who are healing the enormous grief carried in the hearts and bodies of mothers and grandmothers whose children have been killed in wars.
In December 2008, the very first connecting begun. A planeload of mothers and grandmothers from the United States landed in Baghdad. All of them were grieving the death of their military sons and daughters.
Mothers and grandmothers of Iraqi sons and daughters killed in their own country met them at the airport. The Iraqi women housed the American women in their homes.
The mothers and grandmothers based their reaching out to each other on the deeply embedded, universal and instinctual power of motherhood. They recognized in each other the pain of this ultimate sacrifice.
They often did not speak each other’s language but they all spoke the grief of the heart. They shared pictures of their children. They hugged and cried in each other’s arms. They used universal language: Silence, Laughter, Tears, Smiles, Touch, Humming, Lullabies, Sighs, and Pantomime.
They all knew that conversations about right and wrong in religions, politics, and values have kept us apart. If a mother began talking about who was right and who was wrong in the death of her child, the other mothers put their fingers to their lips saying: “shhhhhhhhh” and begun to hum lullabies.
The mothers stayed with what connected them: the love of their children no matter how different they were from one another in other areas of their lives. They mourned together not only the loss of their children and grandchildren but also the children who would never be born to those who died.
Out of that profound grief, these mothers decided to share the children and grandchildren of sons and daughters who were still alive. Now there are Iraqi children who have an American grandmother. She writes to them, sends gifts from her community and is saving airlines miles so they can visit her in the US. Now there are American children who have an Iraqi grandmother. She writes to them, sends them gifts from her community and hopes they will come to Iraq to visit her.
Newspapers around the world picked up the story of this visit. The power of the way the women opened their hearts to one another moved readers to tears, to compassion and then to action. Other mothers who had lost their sons and daughters in war contacted mothers in the countries where their children had been killed.
Now there are Mothers Mourning groups grieving together and sharing their children in Ireland; in North and South Korea; In the United States and Viet Nam; in France and Algeria; in Russia and Germany; In Bosnia and Slovakia; in Sudan and Darfur; In China and Tibet; in Palestine and Israel; In Russia and Chechnya; in Lebanon and Syria; in Greece and Turkey; in England and Argentina; in Afghanistan and Russia; in the United States and Afghanistan; in…”
Oralee Stiles’s written vision continues to encompass many other living aspects: Mothers Feeding and Nurturing; Mothers Teaching; Mothers Shareholding; Mothers Acting… She invites women to spread the vision, and welcomes you to contact her at MothersSave@aol.com
It is profoundly encouraging to know that a similar vision is now a reality! Such groups exist already around the world, and I am specifically aware of them in my country of origin, where there are active forums of Palestinian and Israeli families, who lost loved ones in wars or other violent acts in the area, that meet to mourn together, and share a bi-national Memorial Day (while their respective nations mourn only their own national losses).
Visions might well be our best and most effective tools for changing the world!