Confucius says, “Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.” Profound right? And so true. But in our commercialized, ego-obsessed society, humility isn’t always the easiest trait to practice. Allow me to elaborate…
I have come to see quite clearly that the social media forum is an extremely powerful way to help the largest amount people I can; so I use it…a lot. Through my eyes as a care-giver, the results are wonderful, and continue to be, but as my ‘followers’ increase, I am forever practicing mindfulness to be sure that I remember that this number is not just a number, each follower is a human being.
The part of me that still battles my concern about what other people think of me has an insatiable need to be sure I’m not just quenching my own thirst. I have had conversations with the people I trust on more than one occasion about whether or not they perceive humility when I share my thoughts, pictures, etc. It’s not an easy internal battle to be honest, I am petrified of having my ego ever displace my ability to genuinely love and care for people, and potentially bring me back to the darkness I have (with a lot of work) escaped. So, where am I going with this? Well, luckily for me, sometimes there is no need to question if a post I share is humble – sometimes it can’t be anything but.
Today I was given a gift that brought me to my knees and wrapped me in insurmountable humility, and I want to share it with you. My friend Mike Speers, went out of his way to photograph my book, Save-My-Life School, at the Vimy Ridge 100th year anniversary and tribute because he knew I couldn’t be there myself. My first feeling when I saw them was, “I don’t deserve this”, as humility seeped into every cell of my body. It was his way of saying thank you for what I had shared, and I knew immediately that I needed to show my gratitude for his kindness and pay tribute to the memorials I am so honoured to even figuratively be photographed beside. These photos deserved much more than a quick Facebook or Twitter post, they deserved explanation and gratitude to the highest measure.
In front of the Vimy Ridge Monument in France.
“The Canadian Corps was ordered to seize Vimy Ridge in April 1917. Situated in northern France, the heavily-fortified seven-kilometre ridge held a commanding view over the Allied lines. The Canadians would be assaulting over an open graveyard since previous French attacks had failed with over 100,000 casualties.”
“Canadian divisions stormed the ridge at 5:30am on 9 April 1917. More than 15,000 Canadian infantry overran the Germans all along the front. Incredible bravery and discipline allowed the infantry to continue moving forward under heavy fire, even when their officers were killed.There were countless acts of sacrifice, as Canadians single-handedly charged machine-gun nests or forced the surrender of Germans in protective dugouts. Hill 145, the highest and most important feature of the Ridge, and where the Vimy monument now stands, was captured in a frontal bayonet charge against machine-gun positions. Three more days of costly battle delivered final victory. The Canadian operation was an important success, even if the larger British and French offensive, of which it had been a part, had failed. But it was victory at a heavy cost: 3,598 Canadians were killed and another 7,000 wounded.”
“Vimy became a symbol for the sacrifice of the young Dominion. In 1922, the French government ceded to Canada in perpetuity Vimy Ridge, and the land surrounding it. The gleaming white marble and haunting sculptures of the Vimy Memorial, unveiled in 1936, stand as a terrible and poignant reminder of the 11,285 Canadian soldiers killed in France who have no known graves.”
The Battle of Vimy Ridge – Canadian War Museum.
And if having my book photographed beside the Vimy Ridge Monument wasn’t enough, Mike also took a photo beside the grave of Lieutenant Colonel John Mc Crae, the author of the poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’. Gratitude overflowing.
Nothing I ever do will ever compare to the ultimate sacrifices the men at the Battle of Vimy Ridge made for our freedom. And these photos will forever saturate my soul in humility.
Mike, with a humble heart, I accept your gift and sign of appreciation. Thank you.
April 16, 2017 at 9:48 AM
This is incredible. The images and their meaning are profound. What an amazing gesture by Mike Speers. What a great guy. That said, you are a pretty amazing lady and I think you deserve this. You have wrote a book for other front first line responders and you are always available to talk and show empathy to others to a very high level.
This is a great update.
Just incredible images and an Irishman looking into Canadian history.
Nice job Nat!
Nice job Mike!
April 19, 2017 at 5:04 AM
Thank you Aidan 🙂 You rock my friend!