I first saw it in her eyes.
They were glued to the dancers, following their lithe movements, 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. But she was creating an even better scene in her mind’s eye, using her artistic vision. 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.
Her vision was strong and active. So was her graciousness. She talked of how lovely the girls were; how wonderful it was that they were performing for them; how much pleasure they were bringing her.
But I asked for a little 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.
Yet 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.
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Do you have a gift that you used in your youth, but no longer use? How could you still share it? Please share in the comments.
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