Today was a good day. When I woke up this morning I sang a little happy song to my little dogs telling them how much I love them and how we were going to have a good day. I took my dad to his dialysis appointment, grabbed a coffee at Starbucks and headed home.
What I can only describe as a "God thing" I took a detour on my way home and had plans to go sit in my park and watch the birds for a little while. I took a different route and ended up driving down the street where I took ballet lessons in a private home with a beautiful studio. I have loved my ballet teacher since I was 5 years old. She is beauty and grace personified, even to this very day.
As I drove past her home I saw her sitting in her front yard, soaking in some sun and sitting in a patio chair. I felt bad that I drove past so fast because I knew she knows my Jeep and I couldn't in good conscience keep on driving. I put my Jeep in reverse and backed up to her house. She waved and smiled enthusiastically. I put my window down and she said, "I thought that was you!"
I had every plan to get home and get some housework done that I am unable to do when my dad is at home. My mind thought of all the tasks that were waiting for me, but it was more important to spend some time with this beautiful soul who spends most of her days alone now.
We stood outside talking for about 20 minutes when she invited me inside to see her latest painting she was working on. She takes pages from magazines with beautiful photos or paintings and she recreates them. Today's painting was Monet's Bridge over a Pond. She paints so well that it was immediately recognizable. I gasped. It has always been one of my favorite art pieces. She told me how hers was a little off scale because she couldn't get a canvas that was small enough to copy the photo she found in a magazine. I honestly couldn't tell any difference.
We covered so many topics while standing in her kitchen looking at her painting. I saw the door to the ballet studio. I was giddy with excitement. I had not been in the studio since I was about 7 years old. I asked if we could go inside and she smiled and agreed. She opened the door and in my heart and mind, I was 7 again. It looked exactly the same. I can't begin to tell you the wave of emotions that went over me. The biggest emotion was sheer joy. I don't get many moments of joy very often so this was a real treat.
I asked her if I could come back with a friend to recreate a photo I had of she and I when I was 5 years old. She said I was welcome anytime and would be happy to pose again with me.
She took me on a tour of the rest of her house. I asked her if she had any photos of herself when she danced with the New York City Ballet. She brought out some photo albums and I poured over each photo and listened to every story. Her eyes lit up with each memory recalled. At one point she took hold of my hand and mentioned how she missed holding someone's hand and getting a hug. I hugged her a lot today. She needed it. She spoke of her loneliness and now it is my mission to visit her more often.
I ended up spending 2 and a half hours with her. The joy in her face was worth putting all my errands and household obligations on hold.
Oddly enough my first and only post on Facebook this morning was something I wrote shortly after waking. I was trying not to feel down about not having a lot of money during this holiday season. My love language is giving gifts. This was my post, "There are so many people struggling to make ends meet, myself included. This season of giving can sometimes overwhelm and depress when you are not able to purchase a gift for those dearly loved. There is good news though! Sometimes the only gift you can give is a kind word, a gentle hug or even a smile. God can touch others through sweet gestures of compassion and make them worth the most expensive of gifts.
You and your PRESENCE matter more than mere PRESENTS! May everyone feel the love of Christ this Christmas!"
So in essence, I practiced what I preached.
I will be visiting her again later this week as her birthday is Thursday.