Lance Scranton: A better me because of you?
Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there was a most imaginative woman of enduring beauty and intellectual prowess. She held court with the famous, waited patiently for Prince Charming, all the while impressing those around her with her powers of intellect and discernment.
As she waited in the court it dawned upon her that there must be more to life than sitting around concerning herself with the vanity of all vanities — her beauty. After all, she was smart and she could hold her own in any of the conversations held in the court.
After much thought, she decided to leave the security of the King’s Court and dedicate her life to the pursuit of knowledge and serve others generously. She put severe restrictions on her time so she could study. She restricted her diet so she would not be “dull of mind” and reminded herself that the talents and abilities she possessed were a gift from God to be used in service to others.
Her gifts of wise investment and frugality increased her fortune and she shared generously with others and her influence grew throughout the kingdom. Many were amazed and thankful for her kind generosity but others mocked her simple and seemingly unrewarding lifestyle.
But she persisted and found much joy and peace in using her gifts to help others. She was soon swept away by the richness of a simple and sensible life and decided to sell off her fortune to make the lives of the poor and impoverished more tolerable. More than a few people were repulsed at her lack of judiciousness and common sense, but she would not have it any other way.
One day her sisters became very sick and she was heartbroken so she spent the rest of her days caring for them and eventually became sick herself and died.
And so it was for Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, one of the featured authors studied in class as part of our early American literature unit.
A life dedicated to more than what was expected or easy, and a story I share with my American literature students — and again with you — who I hope will do the same… My life and yours are better because of the generosity and sacrifice of others.