Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: STIR (11/12/15)
TITLE: The Wide View
By Jennifer Woodley
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These past months had been a roller coaster of energy and emotion. There were times of pain-free movement and an accompanying buoyant spirit where she could rise to tackle household chores and occasionally take a walk. Then, without any explanation, Miranda’s muscles gave way in weakness and burning pain, causing her spirits to plummet downwards and she would be flat on her back again. Lately, the descents were strongly outweighing the ascents.
This debilitating condition exhausted Miranda and despite numerous tests, baffled doctors. Defeated by her circumstances and drowning in self-consuming thoughts, Miranda envisioned a future of no new possibilities; no prospect of hope – in short, a life ahead that resembled a long, dull, monotonous road, heading nowhere.
A knock at the door broke Miranda’s musings. Rousing herself, she wondered who might be calling. Wearily opening the door, Miranda was greeted by her neighbor. Isabelle stood in the doorway with a warm smile and a plate of warm muffins in her hand.
“Hi Miranda, it’s good to see you. I thought we might catch up, if this is a good time.” Isabelle suggested.
“Oh hello Isabelle, come in and I’ll brew some coffee.” Miranda found herself saying. "Maybe a happy enthusiastic distraction is the best medicine for me today," she thought.
Allowing Miranda the space to share her troubles, Isabelle graciously listened. Miranda sensed her care, appreciated her concern. Now Miranda felt that she had talked long enough. What of her neighbor, how was she going? Isabelle spoke of her teenage son with multiple sclerosis, his own limitations and as a result, her own too. His life had turned a new corner in these past few weeks; his condition had worsened, dramatically affecting all of her family. But Miranda noticed no resentment in her neighbor’s voice, no bitterness, just a gracious acceptance.
“You see, Miranda,” Isabelle began, “I decided when Brian’s health deteriorated, to adopt a wider view within the confines of this situation. It is a perspective that embraces living fully despite the boundaries that shape my life. It is really about looking for opportunities rather than mourning over my limitations. I decided to ask myself what I can do, rather than regretting what I can’t. There are always new possibilities to step into regardless of the limitations. Approaching each day with this attitude and with a thankful heart for all I do have has made me happier, and pleasanter to be around.
Miranda stared dumbfound at her neighbor, and then she felt something catch alight as she listened to Isabelle’s next words.
“Miranda you have told me your limitations; what you can’t do. What are your possibilities; what can you do right now? Just because you are unwell, doesn’t mean you can’t dream.”
Miranda caught her breathe as a flicker of hope ignited inside – a light began to glow brightly in a dark hopeless heart. What was that stirring? Maybe it was a longing, a dream that had been extinguished by the voice of despair whispering that she was no use, washed up with nothing to offer anyone, anymore. Isabelle, a welcomed visitor, on another unwelcomed day, had rekindled the light of hope.
Afterwards, when the thank yous and good byes had passed, Miranda lay back on the lounge. Propped up with pillows, she fingered her painting tools. They had lain abandoned for too long. So too had Miranda’s multi-award winning talent. An artistic gift generously given had almost become on artistic gift completely forgotten.
Miranda studied the full flush of purple petals outside her bay window; a beautiful framed portrait waiting to be admired, ready to be captured on canvas. With the light of hope stirring inside, Miranda arranged her tools, making plans to paint the wide view from her window.
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