Friday, June 10, 2016

Where Clouds are Far Behind

By Brenda Black

Somewhere over the rainbow, on June 10, 1922, Frances Ethel Gumm entered this world. By the ripe old age of two, the baby girl delivered her first stage performance and a star was born. Sadly, no fairy tale, award-winning movies or melodic stories sung by the dark haired lass would keep reality at bay. Gumm, better known as Judy Garland, died at 47, having performed for 45 of her fleeting years.

One writer remembered the iconic starlet this way, “Between the struggles of the Great Depression and the mayhem of World War II, Garland invited us to experience a transformed world in The Wizard of Oz where we could 'wake up where clouds are far behind.'”

While Garland sang of such a place, another woman went there. Amelia Earhart went where no woman had gone before when she flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, and reached an altitude of 18,415 feet in 1931.

Vicariously, women soared with her, applauding her gumption and envying her freedom. She invited onlookers to experience a transformed world through her courage and moxy. But her last adventure, an attempt to circumnavigate the globe in the Lockheed Electra, ended in 1936, when she disappeared over the South Pacific. A nation grieved the petite daredevil who only made it to 40.

Two talented women with two troubling destinies that sound sadly similar. The great divide in their end results is that one self destructed while the other pushed the limits. They each took risks, but one lived in fantasy while the other made dreams come true.

Many become stars for their fine performances. Few become heroes for setting lofty goals and working to achieve them. When you seek inspiration, it's fine to look far behind the clouds for prospects, but use some caution. Some are in it only for themselves. They'll sing the songs and play the parts, while behind their masks lurk dark secrets and troubling storms in lives headed for disaster rather than the end of a rainbow. True inspiration can be found in the ones who bare their souls and live with integrity and purpose.

Earhart once said, “By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground, I knew I had to fly.”

Make sure you can spot the difference between those shooting for stardom and those aiming for the stars. Be certain you navigate toward great possibilities not just yellow-bricked fantasies. Most importantly, fly in such a way so that others will want to soar after you.

**Tell me -- who inspires you to do the impossible?

©2016 The Word's Out-Brenda Black

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