By Guest Blogger Michelle Sewing-Sohn
Life is often measured in milestones, accomplishments and memorable events. But, it is often the unexpected moments that bring deeper meaning and significance to our lives and the little things can actually have the hugest impact on us. This past weekend was my daughter Hope’s Bat Mitzvah, but it was also the strange and beautiful juxtaposition of events and beings that do not fit together seamlessly that brought cause for more hope, celebration, a feeling of connectedness and peacefulness. The events began unfolding when Marissa, the caterer, saw the sign I created with my daughter’s name- “HOPE” surrounded by two monkeys hanging on either side of her name. I explained to her our love for all animals and the theme of the party, “Hope’s Paradise,” with decorations to mirror a tropical rainforest. When Marissa told me the story of how Travis from Greenfield Reserve rescued,“Little Bit”, a Patas monkey, who had suffered a stroke and rather than giving up on her, he decided to operate and take charge of her recovery; I sat awestruck and began to wonder if this was a coincidence or a matter of fate.
I had written my daughter’s speech before meeting “Little Bit,” and retrospectively I feel that I may have had a foreshadowing of events and that two creatures would be meeting for the first, but definitely, not the last time. The introduction I wrote begins,
“I stand before you today to speak about my daughter, Hope, and on her becoming a Bat Mitzvah. But, describing her in words is quite a challenging task. She is a dichotomy, for on the one hand she is still a child who needs others to protect and teach her, but on the other, she is fiercely independent and wants to stand on her own. She is willful, intelligent, stubborn, and creative and as a close friend so astutely described her, bold.”
After learning about “Little Bit’s” stroke and her road to recovery I saw similarities between the two young females. Then, to help express my feelings for Hope further I borrowed the poignant words of Emily Dickinson. She wrote,
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul.
And sings the tune Without the words,
And never stops at all.”
My daughter is a girl of few words. Yet those she utters she chooses carefully and wisely. Whether she sings or speaks them, you can be rest assured they are full of purpose, to the point and honest.” “ Little Bit,” like Hope, is not a simple creature, but one full of purpose, love, a zest for life and their power over us is contagious.. “Little Bit” had hope and I think that Travis heard the cries she couldn’t speak from within his soul. Travis knew that he had to do everything in his power to ensure that “Little Bit” would survive and she did. She lives and breathes on her own, but also in the soul of those she has met along life’s journey. The day Hope become a Bat Mitzvah, more than one milestone was created. While Hope carefully carried one year old “Little Bit,” wrapped comfortably in a towel through the party, many people may have thought the pair an unlikely match. But, on the contrary, a “little bit of hope” can go a long way to uplifting and changing the mood of an event and changing people’s perceptions about life and what it has to offer. My daughter found that which perches in her soul; hope for life, hope for humans, hope for animals, hope for a chance to become something bigger than she already is and to educate others to the plight of animals everywhere, how they can help and the amazing things people are capable of and are doing every day without stopping.
As Desmond Tuto said, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” I was given more than a “little bit” on the night of my daughter’s party. Hope is everywhere; it is within all of us; every living creature and I hope that I and others who are reading this are moved by the image of a baby monkey wrapped snugly in a towel being carried carefully around by a child and that we continue to marvel at life’s’ miracles and do a “little something” each day to help animals and each other. Jane Goodall said it well when she stated, “the least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.” More words were imparted indirectly as Hope carried “Little Bit,” than could have been spoken. When eyes meet eyes, the soul melts and hope unleashes. That’s how I felt when my blue eyes, gazed upon “Little Bit’s” hazel ones. Travis, from Greenfield Reserve, shared “Little Bit” with all of us that evening and I know that I don’t want to let go of her…not one “little bit.’