“You can’t say no to Virginia,” my fellow volunteer smiled, shaking her head. Rows of us lined up at desks, a phone on one hand, a pen in the other, marking off names on our respective call lists. We made requests to those we phoned on behalf of Virginia’s many social justice passion projects.

All because Virginia asked.

Virginia was close to my mother’s age, but she appeared ageless to me with her sparkling eyes and  ever-present smile.  Her long straight hair that fell to the middle of her back was already beginning to gray when we first met decades ago. But her energy always seemed to  exceed that of the young activists she attracted.

Virginia was married 61 years before she was widowed.  A few years later she saw the death of one of her seven children. Over time she cut her tresses into a bob, but always remained a timeless beauty who was always up to something good.

A couple of weeks ago Virginia wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper in support of two women running for public office. I was shocked to see her words “I am a 91-year-old widow.”

This week I opened an envelope neatly hand addressed to me in blue ink. At the top of a two-page letter were these words:

                                I’m sending this to everyone I know.

Virginia set forth a compelling argument in support of her chosen candidate for the presidency. Like so many Americans,  thoughts of this year’s election bring a host of opinions and emotions. But the overriding ones for me upon reading Virginia’s missive was that at every age we can be engaged in the world in which we want to make a difference.

Thank you, Virginia. Whether it’s to your candidate or another, it looks like I may have a donation of some dollars to make, or perhaps another one of those phone banks to show up for. 

After all, you can’t say no to Virginia.

Coach Koenig

Where do you find inspiration for being engaged with your life?

Does the thought of your age limit you?

Who might you inspire through an invitation or a small action?  

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