Today, one of my Facebook friends did this painting of me. Renee and I have not even met, but over the course of months, she felt as if she knew me from my writings. I write mostly about my daughter G, my other children, my mother, my family, food and God. My writings are mostly about love, joy, hope and kindness.
From my words, Renee saw this beauty. I looked in the mirror and realised that Renee’s brushes had been very kind to me. And that kindness came from the soul of the painter. Renee saw my light, how I was before I fell sick. Now, I am still not my old self yet – I still have a bald patch that I artfully hide with my surviving hair, I have radiation burns still and am still thin, with pasty skin and dull hair. I am not this beautiful woman – yet.
But bless Renee for seeing the light in me that I cannot – yet. It is, in actual fact, a reflection of her beautiful soul.
Over a year ago, I posted a few happy posts about somebody and it drew so much criticisms from his friends, speculating about my ulterior motives and disliking me even before having met me. My happy photos and a few line of excited comments? It just shook me real bad that such ugliness can be drawn from my simple joy, my celebration. Wow.
What people think, see or do in relation to people is a clear reflection of what’s happening to them on the inside.
In November, when I was ill and not getting better despite the superb medical treatment, my cardiologist called a halt to my treatment. He made me meditate intensely instead during my time off being a patient. As I was unable to do much, I complied reluctantly. Instead of lying in bed at home getting depressed, I may as well go to a meditation centre to kill time, right?
It started easy enough. Then it got difficult. In my quiet moments, painful things came up, including anger at my illness and the timing of it. Then feeling sorry for myself, “I have not done anything wrong. I have only done good. Why me?” I got angry. I lashed out at he who is closest to my soul, irrationally blaming him for everything that happened to me.
And then the anger – and the painful emotions – passed like storm clouds.
We were walking along the Embankment one day, with the muddy water of the Thames snaking by. It was a cold, grey and damp day, and I was chilled to the bones. I could not jog; even walking was a strain to my weak heart. “I am so unhappy,” I told him, tears in my eyes.
He looked at me in surprise. “Why?” He asked, genuinely perplexed. “I was just thinking, this is such a perfect moment.”
“Are you out of your mind?”
He grinned and pointed at something on the river to me. “I was looking at the houseboats. And I was thinking, maybe in spring, we could rent one to meander down the Thames. Or even buy one to live in. Won’t that be glorious, Jac? I’ll read to you every night and we can do yoga together on the deck.”
“You stupid man. How about your work?”
He feigned mock surprise. “Why, Jac! You’d be a famous novelist by then and I’d live off your earnings, of course!”
Against my will, I smiled. That smile was the beginning of the many smiles I smiled since that walk along the Embankment on a cold November night. When I began smiling again, I changed my internal environment. And with the change in my internal environment, the world around me changed too. Life – and my health – suddenly got better.
Indeed, how you see the world affects your experience of it.
Thank you, Renee, for showing us what’s inside you. It’s beautiful.