The Gift

I first saw it in her eyes. They were glued to the dancers, following their lithe movements, and gracefully dancing along with them. Then I heard it in her voice—“Oh, I wish I had my sketch pad!

We engaged in conversation—me and this white-haired old lady in a wheelchair in a nursing home cafeteria. Her lucidity surprised me, and pulled me in deeper.

Together we watched the ballerinas leap across the cafeteria floor. I discovered she was using her artistic vision to picture a better scene. She said she wished she could dim the overhead lights, scale back the front lights, and use a spotlight on the dancers.

She had a gift. She wanted to use it.Stained glass_cross

Her mind’s eye was strong and active. So was her graciousness. She talked of how lovely the girls were; how wonderful that they were performing for them; how much pleasure they were bringing her.

But I wanted more. And she gave.

She told me that she was indeed an artist, as I had suspected. In particular, an artist of stained glass. She had done several of the church windows in Huntsville. She spoke of her gift with both pleasure and gratitude, a gift well-used. She said she toys with the idea of using it again, but it is too involved, and she couldn’t manage.

Her name? Fran. And she wanted to know mine. We exchanged thank you’s for the joy we had brought into each other’s day. And I was able to walk away, while Fran remained behind in her wheelchair.

But the next time I drive by a church in Huntsville and notice the sun reflecting off a design on stained glass, I’ll think of Fran.

And her gift of a life well-lived, then and now.

1 comment:

Lynn Severance said...

What a beautiful story. What a beautiful woman this Fran not letting her "now" take away from the beauty of her "then" but integrating them.

Wow - something for all of us to ponder and remember.

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