Be More Like Helen.


“We all must start from scratch.”

Helen with fiddling greats Brendan Tonra and Seamus Connolly.
That’s what Helen said, and she should know. Helen started 42 years ago, continued, and she hasn’t stopped, even though sometimes she’s so tired. Driving in the dark is hard, and it’s cold out, and her driving partner is gone. She’s often sad. It would be so much easier to stay home with the kitty. But she doesn’t.

Helen turns 82 on December 29. A lifetime ago, as an adult, she started something completely brand new, and it changed the course her life—and it still fills her life whenever she compels herself to reach for it. She is so strong, but maybe she sometimes thinks she is weak. She is not. Helen is strong.

Forty years she has been at it. Sometimes, she has not been good at it, she says. (Do we really believe her?) Surely she wasn’t good at it right away. Most of Helen’s favorite stories involve those moments when what was supposed to be turned into something that no one could have imagined was even possible. She laughs hard when she recounts the gaffes. We laugh with her.

Along the way, she has met many people who she thinks were much better at it. But in fact, she herself is so good at it that over and over her boat bumps up against the masters. (She may not know it, but her boat is docked in the same marina.) She had many situations where she fell flat on her face at it, in front of a roomful of people. (Haven't we all?) But she has kept at it because she loves it.

Truth: She’s brilliant.

Because she started, she opened a thousand doors. Because she continued even when she “failed,” she has gotten better, second by second, moment by moment. She has stories of a thousand shenanigans and ructions, hoolies and hijinks. She has a mind full of music and of memories. She has a heart full of love.

All because she started, then she continued.

Does it matter what "it" is? It does not.  

Be more like Helen.


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