Friday, March 4, 2011

March forth!

Every March 4th, I think of Chris Edmonds, and this story I did about her in 2005:

Source: BY SUZANNE PEREZ TOBIAS , The Wichita Eagle


March 4th.

March forth!

Today isn't just another late-winter Friday. Today your calendar is giving you an order:

Reach high.

Laugh hard.

Dream deep.


Chris Edmonds heeds the directive. Nearly 30 years ago, a high school classmate passed her a note. She doesn't remember what it said. But she recalls her reply:

"Happy March 4th! March forth!"

The girls giggled at the play on words. The rest of the day, they shouted "March forth!" to everyone they saw.

Edmonds has honored March 4th ever since. She calls it "my own personal holiday."

She sends handmade cards to friends and family, and they send cards to her. Some are serious, with scripture verses:

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. . . . In the same way, your light must shine before men, so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father" (Matthew 5:14-15).

Others are fun -- a watercolor butterfly with the sentiment "Don't just flutter by. March forth!"

Forget your mistakes.

Throw paint on the canvas.

Seize the day.


"To me it's about hope, about optimism," said Edmonds, 46, who directs young adult ministries for the Catholic Diocese of Wichita. "Over the years, as I've shared it with people, I've noticed it's a transformative thing.

"You see their faces light up. They realize that life's not so bad. What's done is done, and this is a new day."

Set sail.

Find a way.

Live out loud.


Edmonds wants the whole world to celebrate March Forth. People have told her she should trademark the holiday, sell her cards to Hallmark. It could be big. Really big.

"That would be too commercial," she said. "It's not my day to own, it's my day to share."

She feels the love every March 4th. Her mailbox fills with cards and letters from friends all over the world. People see the date and remember her, and her phone rings nonstop. They call with greetings and good wishes. Some sing songs.

One year she heard from a friend who had recently lost her job. "I just clung to 'March Forth,' and it got me through," the woman told her. "I may not know what the future holds, but I knew March 4th would come, and everything would be OK."

Start over.

Start now.

Amaze yourself.


This year March 4th falls on a Lenten Friday, a day of penitence rather than celebration. She'll bring cookies to the office, but small ones.

"It's meant to be light and fun," she said. She marks the occasion in little ways, by fixing a favorite meal or attending the garden show to drink up spring. And she basks in the positive energy that comes from knowing people all over the world are thinking of her.

Friends in Maryland, Texas, South America and New Zealand. Friends all over Kansas. People who don't even remember her birthday (it's in November, by the way) will call her today and say, "March forth!"

And she'll reply, "March forth!"

"I never dreamed a silly little play on words could end up being so meaningful to people," she said. "But I love it."


1 comment:

Heather said...

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