I’ve known and respected LaTarsha, a colleague, for nearly two years now. In fact, she’s become a cherished friend. So when her longtime friend Dolly was diagnosed with Breast Cancer about six months ago, I saw how it struck her and felt immediate empathy for her. Over time, LaTarsha kept me updated about Dolly’s situation and I cheered her on from a distance, only meeting Dolly in April at a Zumbathon/fundraiser in her honor.
I felt an immediate and deep appreciation for Dolly who has weathered her cancer diagnosis and treatments with great strength and grace. And a beautiful smile. I also felt a desire to protect her and do what I could to mitigate her suffering and her trials. So, when Dolly asked if I’d paint a ceiling tile for her at the treatment center, I jumped at the idea. Others had and LaTarsha snapped photos of examples for me to see when she accompanied Dolly for her weekly treatment. I could see how these lovely, uplifting images would brighten the patient’s days and I was eager to contribute one on Dolly’s behalf.
My mind raced with ideas, images and concepts. I wanted this to be an uplifting image that would send the spirits of all patients who saw it soaring. But I wanted this to be especially personal for Dolly, of course, as my gift to her. We spoke and she related her love of dancing and of how she enjoyed being with her friends at the Zumbathon and I got an idea. And then, I came across this quote:
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
That was it! I borrowed the imagery from the Zumbathon and there it was! But I procrastinated, very nervous about working on such an unusual material. Worried that I would ruin the one and only tile I’m sure Dolly would be given. But this past weekend, I dug in, went to work, and trusted in a power outside of myself to produce and create something so very important. I delivered it to Dolly today and was really proud.
Dolly’s face showed that she loved it. LaTarsha is out of town on business, but her daughter took photos of the painting and of Dolly and I together. And she gave a big thumbs up as well. I’m so very happy that it worked out!
It’s my hope that this painting does, in fact, uplift Dolly each and every time she has chemo. And that it brighten’s the days of all who are forced to endure those treatments. They all face that greatest of life’s challenges and deserve some joy.