Wanda B. Goines is an Internet sensation. The 92-year-old Oregon woman wrote a poem about aging, "The Gift Wrap & The Jewel," that reminds us all about what's really important: not the packaging we come in, but what's inside.
Goines recites the poem on a video taped by her caregiver, Kathryn Clausnitzer Wilson, who loved it so much that she uploaded to Facebook, where it has been viewed over 4.5 million times. Wilson could not be reached for comment, but described Goines on her Facebook post as "the precious lady I am honored to care for."
Wanda Goines, mother to eight children, grandmother to 15 and great-grandmother of four, lives in the Cave Junction, Oregon house that her father built. Her eldest son is internationally known artist David Lance Goines, who told The Huffington Post that his mother was an accomplished artist and calligrapher who at age 87 wrote and illustrated her first published book, Bunnyfluff Wants To Fly. David Lance Goines' posters are collected by museums worldwide, and he credits his mother with being the only art teacher he ever had.
The poem going viral has been a source of comfort and joy to the Goines family, David said. "She is not long for this earth, and it delights her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as all those who know her and love her, that she is able to make a contribution to the world, even as she is leaving it," he told HuffPost.
Here is the poem that catapulted Wanda to Internet darling status, but be sure and watch the video to see what happens at the end -- and get the tissues ready.
"I looked in the mirror and what did I see, but a little old lady peering back at me
With bags and sags and wrinkles and wispy white hair, and I asked my reflection,
How did you get there?"
You once were straight and vigorous and now you’re stooped and weak, when I tried so hard to keep you from becoming an antique
My reflection’s eyes twinkled as she solemnly replied, you’re looking at the gift wrap and not the jewel inside
A living gem and precious, of unimagined worth
Unique and true, the real you, the only you on earth
The years that spoil your gift-wrap with other things more cruel, should purify and strengthen, and polish up that jewel
So focus your attention on the inside, not the out
On being kinder, wiser, more content and more devout
Then, when your gift-wrap’s stripped away your jewel will be set free, to radiate God’s glory throughout eternity
Clarification: Language has been amended to specify that Goines lives only in Cave Junction, not Portland.
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