from a dad's view

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.

25 responses

  1. What a gorgeous birthday gift for a wonderful lady. Beautiful painting.
    I have had the same experience as you with a local Pak Mail. They are friendly, remember my name, and it makes that little extra I pay to ship somewhere worth it.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:13 am

    • Thank you Leslie,
      I try to smile and appreciate life, but to go thru what this wonderful lady has gone thru and still
      keep her faith and happiness, I could only hope that I would do the same.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:26 am

  2. I am typing this comment with a layer of tears over my eyes. What a great story and a beautiful painting for this cool lady! Thanks, Ryan!

    October 6, 2010 at 6:48 am

    • Thank you Beth,
      I didn’t really mean this to be a sad post, but a inspiration and appreciation post for what we have. I would have to admit, when she hugged me and thank me, I too was holding back some tears and I’m not much of a crier.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:28 am

      • They were not sad tears. Just emotional ones.

        October 8, 2010 at 6:50 am

  3. I have tears in my eyes as well,..what a wonderful gift. The flowers are beautiful and I’m sure she will cherish it because of the spirit in which it was given, open and caring and spontaneously.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:06 am

    • Thanks K,
      We see so many bad influence and spirits in people around us, and unfortunately they get most of the attention. I think we need to appreciate and recognize those who share their cheer and spirit for life more often. I just hope that I brought a little sunshine to her day, and I hope she realizes that people do notice and appreciates her.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:34 am

  4. aswirly

    What a touching story and I feel very happy that you brought such a lovely and strong person this beautiful gift. I know she will cherish it.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:06 am

    • Thank you,
      It was just a little gift, for such a huge spirit.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:35 am

  5. Like Beth here I have tears in my eyes as I type this. A wonderful lady, a wonderful gesture from you, a beautiful painting and a great post as a tribute to her. May she have many more unexpected birthdays and celebrate them all. May you be repaid in kind for the kindness of your heart!

    October 6, 2010 at 7:08 am

    • Thank you Alex,
      I have been repaid already, a wonderful family, friends, and plenty of happiness and health. I thank God for all of this, and I hope that my gift can be used for others.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:39 am

  6. What a nice thing to do for someone. I’m glad you let her know how much you appreciate her. She sounds like a true woman of faith.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:34 am

    • Thanks Sis,
      She has a wonderful view on faith. She told me it was kind of a win, win situation. She’s happy her on earth with her family, but because of her strong Christian beliefs, she knows heaven awaits.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:45 am

  7. doggone it…ripped at my heartstrings and made me say a prayer…

    thank you.

    Now, lets talk some football.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:56 am

    • Thank you, and I really didn’t mean for this to be a heartstring tugger, I just find her inspirational and Faith building.

      I know she appreciates the prayers, and you could through a few my way every once in a while.

      Now as far as football, I’m guessing you meant the NFL and not soccer, if so through a few prayers to the Washington Redskins, we need all the help we can get!

      October 6, 2010 at 11:13 am

  8. I can say a few for the Redskins now that the Texans have finished with them!

    October 6, 2010 at 11:43 am

    • That’s low, really low… seeing that we were kicking your booties… for 3 quarters. O.K. I know, I know, unfortunately there are 4 quarters in a game.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:49 am

  9. Wonderful painting – full of life. And you are full of generosity and kindness. What a wonderful gift.

    October 6, 2010 at 2:45 pm

  10. Francis

    Same goes for me here Beth, tears start accumulating under my eyes. You have such a wonderful heart Ryan and of cos a wonderful painting. I will prey for her wellness and cure for her cancer too. I lose my grandma, my friend, collegue to cancer too. Like you i hope this dreadfull disease will have a cure.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:56 pm

  11. Rick

    lil bro –
    Your heart as long as you have been in my life has always been filled with inspiration,caring,helpfulness, and love for life. Continue to touch others with your gifts, and amazing gifts will be gien to you in return.

    I spoke last night to approx. 75 young adults at a religion class. Although I received many emails today relaying how I gave to them inspiration -they inspired me. Thats what God does. 🙂

    I am proud to call you my little brother. 🙂


    October 7, 2010 at 5:05 am

  12. What a heartwarming story. I’m sure your generosity made her birthday extra special.

    October 10, 2010 at 5:23 pm

  13. Allison

    Thank you for this great story about my mom. She truly is an inspiration. If any one doesn’t believe that God still does miracles today apparently hasn’t met my mom, the walking miracle. She is a wonderful lady inside and out. Thank you again she truly does love this picture too.

    October 27, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    • Thank you for visiting, and I’m so glad to hear the respect and appreciation for your mom, she is an amazing woman. I have lost several people in my life to cancer, but my mother defeated colon cancer a few years ago and is as full of life, as your mother. I don’t know your mom as well as I should by now, but from what I do know, you have all the reason to be proud, respectful, and charish every moment with her. All the best and many years of memory making!

      October 27, 2010 at 6:36 pm

  14. you are a blessing to others…very remarkable..

    April 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    • Thank you Maureen, but it’s not at all me, it’s this beautiful person and lovily lady. I just seen her today and for the first time ever, she was no longer wearing a smile. But she still said that this was a good day and tried to smile convincingly. Again, thank you so much for the kind comment, but compared to the ones fighting cancer and other terrible deseases, I am nothing.

      April 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm

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