As I have moved physically to a peaceful location I have begun to move to a more peaceful emotional place in my mind. Over the past 6 months I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on who and what is important to my life and health. Since January 2022, when it was announced that Melanie Ham left this earth, I have focused even more on how we impact each other and who I should choose as mentors.
Who Was Melanie Ham
Melanie Ham was most known for her YouTube crochet and quilting tutorials. If you are a quilter or crocheter and have searched for help on the internet chances are good that you've come across her name. That is how I became familiar with her name and her gentle and affirming approach.
I would like to add to the heart-felt tributes to her life but I cannot imagine writing an adequate tribute. I do not have sufficient words. Prior to her death, Melanie and her husband began to prepare a documentary of her life. Made With Melanie - A Feature Documentary by Robert Ham went live just a couple of days ago. While I cried much of the way through the video, it was ultimately encouraging.
Life is cyclical. Life is a never-ending group of connections. I never imagined that I would find a crochet pattern to help comfort my friend during her battle with cancer - a pattern written by a woman who was ultimately taken from us by cancer.
Jenny was a co-worker and friend who was battling cancer in 2019. The loss of her hair was devastating and we worked together to find a pattern for crocheted hats that would work for her. You can see my blog post about how I tweaked a pattern by Melanie Ham to suit Jenny's needs. Before Jenny passed, we worked together to mail off hats to a cancer treatment center. Even during times where she felt terrible physically, barely able to stand and concentrate, it was important to her to continue to give to others.
I hope Jenny and Melanie are hanging out in heaven crocheting together.
How Those Around Us Impact Us
My dad was wrong about a good number of things. And while I thought he was wrong when he said "you are who your friends are" I now know that there is nothing more true.
If we choose to be around those who are cruel or angry, we will be cruel and angry. If we choose a mentor who says "I knew feelings would be crushed" with a gleam in their eye, we too will be pleased to crush others.
Now, the conundrum is what to do with those who are close to us but who have a negative impact on our peace. Do we cut them lose and end the relationships? Or do we work on improving the relationships? The easy thing is to cut ties. The right thing may be to work on the relationship in a way that can move the relationship to a peaceful, productive, and good thing; as Robert and Melanie did.
Whether we decide to cut ties or work to improve the relationship, we must do our own work. Moving from one person (or one group) to the next without doing our own work will do nothing to improve our lives.
How Will We Choose to Impact Those Around Us
Moving from a chaotic address to a peaceful address and from an extremely chaotic place of employment to a less chaotic jobsite has done wonders for my own peace of mind. I want to continue to broaden that peaceful feeling enough to be able to share it with others.
Melanie Ham is a wonderful example of teaching and supporting others in a kind manner. And in a manner that spreads positivity. She ran a highly successful business without cutting others down. Yes, sex and drama sell and there's a good chance that those business plans can bring in more dollars - at least for a period of time. But is that who we want to be? Profit via big drama? Some people want that in their lives. I have realized that I don't.
"Pay It Forward" is often a tangible action; paying for the coffee of the person in line behind us. But it can be an emotional gift also. We can teach, donate, comfort, encourage, volunteer, and give with a kind and happy spirit.
I am a work in progress. There were long periods of my life that I was lost and struggling. And angry. I had a lot to be angry about but I truly didn't need to carry it with me for that long of a period of time. It's a bit sad that I am approaching my 6th decade of life before starting to live a peacefully. I imagine all I could have done with my life if I had found peaceful living sooner. But... I'm finding it now. I am finding it by surrounding myself with good, peaceful, and faithful people who give of themselves.
I wish you peace. And the ability to pay good things forward. Thank you Melanie for the shining example of living a best life during our time on earth and the crochet patterns that gave us comfort.
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