Today is the day and I am glad for it.
I will walk in and be met with surprise, warm embraces and happy greetings. I will give brief updates to most as I make my way around the room to give all a personal greeting.
Then I will get to her and she will say in a Texan drawl, “We missed you, girl, glad to see you, glad to have you back.” And I will reply, “it’s good to be back and it’s good to be seen.”
Then we will settle down and return to our places. And I will sit in my chair. It is an average, older chair, green upholstery with wooden arms and fairly comfortable. But everyone knows that this is my chair. This is where I sit when I am here and where I have sat for the past four years.
My chair, where I have a place and where I belong.
‘Tis true my form is something odd,
But blaming me is blaming God;
Could I create myself anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.
If I could reach from pole to pole
Or grasp the ocean with a span,
I would be measured by the soul;
The mind’s the standard of the man.
—poem used by Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man ) to end his letters, adapted from “False Greatness” by Isaac Watts
Wow, you have a great eye for this, you do amazing work!
Thanks, she replied nonchalantly.
Don’t you know who that is? He doesn’t give praise easily and you don’t seem to care about what he said to you!
Praise and blame are the same, and if I allow someone’s words build to me up, then he also has the power to tear me down. Someone once told me that I had no talent and was wasting my time in this industry. I cried for days and even thought of giving up until I realized I was good and I couldn’t allow others to hinder me.
You can’t listen to everyone, not all people have an eye for this business. Besides, who would say such a thing?
The person who just said my work was amazing.
He looked sad and lost sitting alone in the back seat of the big black limousine. Experiencing the violent death of a father is difficult for anyone to navigate much less a ten year old boy, he was understandably affected.
Yes, his father was a drug dealer and an ex-con, but still, he was his father and someone he loved very much.
She leaned into the back seat and introduced herself, “do you remember me, I was a friend of your mother’s years ago when I lived in this town”. He nodded absently. “I want to tell you something that I think will help you. I knew your father, she continued, I knew about a lot of the things that he did. He did good things and he did bad things (the boy hung his head) but the one thing I never want you to forget is that YOU are the best thing that your father ever did.”
The look of joy and illumination more than assured her that he got the message.
“So, what’s your favorite color?” he asked.
“Um, I don’t really have a favorite,” she replied thoughtfully, “I like lots of different colors for different reasons.”
He persisted, “What if you had to nail it down to just one.”
“I guess it would be ultraviolet, then,” she noted.
“That’s not a real color; you can’t even see ultraviolet”, he said pointedly.
“No”, she replied with a smile as she closed her eyes and looked up, “but you can sure feel it.”