A Flower

by Mark on November 11, 2009



My sister is painting a gift for me.  It’s a flower.  She’s a beginner, not that it matters.  My flower will be a masterpiece.

Chris lives hours away.  I imagine her working at the easel.  She probably keeps her eye close to the canvas.  An illness called Lupus hampers her vision, often blinding an eye.

The hands are likely to be steady as she draws the stem and leaves.  For a decade this disease relentlessly attacked her body.  Chris lost the use of her legs.  Her bones are so fragile that ribs crack during severe coughing spasms.  Bladders and kidneys sometimes need prolonged doses of antibiotics.  Thank God her hands remain healthy.  No doubt the stem and leaves are vivid.

I imagine the blossoms are bright, fiery reds and burning oranges.  The other afflictions seem minor compared with the flaring pain.  Headaches are paralyzing.  Her muscles, that aren’t limp, often scream with pain.  Those blossoms must really glow.

The backdrop should be a storm with wind and sleet.  Glimpses of light peek through dark clouds.  My flower fights to stay up, faltering sometimes – but always rebounding.  Strong roots.

Her finished masterpiece will deliver mixed emotions.  It’s embarrassing how often I whine about trivial issues.  My worst challenges pale in comparison.  Yet a warm glow already comforts me from afar, dissolving my shame.  It reminds me how blessed I am with good health and the love of very special people.  It is now I realize this gift, my flower, has already been received.

Chris died in November, 2003 after fighting Lupus for 23 years.

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