Monday, April 16, 2012

Friends Who Ask Nothing

I don't really see myself as a painter/artist, writing is what I do, but I've been painting quite a bit lately. It's relaxing. the lighthouse is an old painting done for the painting class when I first moved across the country. I remember going to that class, a senior education class at a junior college, and feeling so strange with a roomful of strangers. I came to feel like that class was an oasis and those strangers my only friends.

They were women mostly, and approximately my age. They were so hospitable and nice, and some of them quite talented. The teacher was great...easy going and encouraging. She provided a list of needed supplies; and she never said an unkind word. Some of them had taken the yoga class I took for a while. None of them knew my circumstances or lifestyle and there was no need to go in to all that in order to be friendly. All they knew was that I had moved from the Northeast; married a man much younger; and had children, step-kids, and grand-kids. We didn't socialize outside of class but they did invite me to shows an art organization they belonged to held on occasion. They invited me to join, but I never did. Once I drove to the teacher's home to give her a kitten she wanted to adopt. Sometimes one of them would bake and bring goodies in to share. We exchanged small gifts at Christmas or hand-painted greeting cards. When after a year or so I became sick, they comforted me. They were empathetic and offered help that I graciously turned down. When I returned to class some months later with a bandanna around my bald head they complimented me. When my hair grew back they were thrilled for me. We spent the class painting and swapping stories about our grandchildren. I sorely miss those women.

People you meet in life who ask nothing of you except occasional camaraderie are undervalued. They are the best kind of friends. When I left, after that last class, I sat in the parking lot in the car and cried.


Ana said...

new#3, I love the picture of the lighthouse. You are really good. I didn't know you have it like that. I'm hope all is really good with you. I think of you often, but just can't find the time to do all the things I'd like, one of which is to talk with you more. I think of you too because one of my sisters has cancer and she'll have surgery sometime this month, or the beginning of next. She'll have one breast removed. She already went through a spell of chemo, but the doctors think it best to remove the breast and lymph nodes. They said she should have had the surgery 2 years ago, as it's an "aggressive" cancer. Well, anyone, it's a woulda, coulda, shoulda. What counts is the cancer didn't spread in the two years. She's handling it really well. She's a tough cookie, like you. We all need to just make the best of life because it is soooooo short. We need to let go of the past, not deal with imagining the future, but deal with today and getting the most out of each day as it comes. My intention is to start doing that. You're an inspiration to us all new#3. If you like writing, you may want to do a support group blog of a sort, but put your unique touches on it. Make it a representation of you. You're giving so, so much now and you have more to offer. You have huge potential {hugs} to you, new #3.

Older and Weiser said...

Thank you for sharing your art with us! What a beautiful painting, and one I needed today. I have been feeling sorry for myself, and I loathe when I get in these places of self-pity.

The painting literally helped me "see the light". Your memories from your painting class made me smile. It seems that class really was an oasis for you. Are there any community classes like this one in the area you are now that have caught your attention? Maybe you could recapture this feeling of belonging and having a place that was all your own...just a thought.

Sorry I have been MIA so long. I posted on my blog to explain the absence.

I hope you post more of your work!

Border Collie said...

I really enjoyed seeing the painting. It's really very good.

What a great class and experience you had with those classmates. They often are not replicated but are so special when the group gels as yours did. That's a memory of a special part of your life you will always have. I'm jealous, I do believe.

Do that which makes you feel good. I love hearing from you.