A Big Smile, Strength, Contagious Energy… and Cancer
This post started about 25 years ago in a little art store that was about the only place to buy art supplies at the time. As you walked into the store normally there was just one clerk, but that one clerk always had a smile and a friendly greeting. By my own experience as a bellman, front desk person, restaurant manager, bar manager and catering manager in the hotel industry before my art career, I can tell you that smile from anyone working with the public, is just short of a miracle. But this lady always had a faith-based happiness, and was always willing to share it. About once a month for the last 25 years, I still try by our art supplies from her and the franchise company she now works for, not because I can’t find these products somewhere else, but because of this clerks friendliness and energy. A few months ago while buying supplies she walks up to me with extremely short hair, a warm smile, and ask how I was doing. I replied just fine, in return I ask how she was doing and she replied wonderful, I’m getting ready to celebrate my birthday soon. Now, knowing women above the age of 29… if there are women above the age of 29, never celebrate their birthdays. I made the comment that I didn’t think at our age we were supposed to celebrate birthdays anymore. She then explained her motivation, 2 years prior to this, she was diagnosed with cancer and was given less than a year to live, and that she had lost her young mother, two years later her father, and then her husband of a heart attack. So, from this point on, to her, every birthday, is one the doctors had told her she wasn’t going to have, and so she celebrates. She also informed me that she was comfortable with God’s decision, whether here or in heaven. Her wonderful attitude, energy, along with her strong Christian belief, still puts a smile on her face every time you walk into the store. And to be honest with you, I didn’t even realize that she was going thru all of this, because of her wonderful attitude.
I can’t tell you why, but I had this need to do a painting and give it to her for her birthday. I’ll be honest with you, I felt odd taking it to her, not knowing how she would take it, but it was something I wanted to do. I had found out thru the other workers that she loved purple and flowers, so iris’s was the choice of my painting. I had to buy supplies yesterday for my daughter, so I took it in the store and was fortunate she was working. Of course with a giant smile she greets me as soon as I walked in. I told her that I had something for her, with a look of puzzlement on her face, I handed her the painting and told her happy birthday. Stunned and probably confused, soon turned into a smile and warm feeling of happiness and a hug. With all the strength, faith, determination and friendliness and warmth, she deserved this painting and so much more.
I hope and pray for the cure of cancer, I hope and pray that someday we fear this horrible disease no more, and I hope and pray for years to come, I can walk into that store to buy my art supplies, and be greeted by her wonderful smile and warm friendliness.