My Wednesdays are full of delight when I enter the room where our writing workshop is held. Filled with creative minds, I always leave energized and full of a litany of ideas to be put on paper. The group is comprised of our esteemed leader and three other talented writers. I am intimidated, yet intrigued by their storytelling ability and vast aptitude to draw the reader into a scene. It makes me want to step up my game.
One of the participants came off a tad opinionated at our first gathering. In only two meetings, I have learned that the very core of her being was rocked by a cancer diagnosis that was incorrectly dealt with and now she is preparing her memoir of her battles with the medical system.
Today, she shared a short piece about her husband wanting to give her a “rebirth” party in celebration of her survival of cancer and her birthday. It was a party that she didn’t want, but instead, she embraced her husband and jumped on board in anticipation for the event. Her main concern was her inability to smile. The surgery, chemotherapy and other factors, had taken away her way of connecting with others. When she shared that, my eyes pooled with tears. I have never thought about life without smiling.
As I observed her more, I realized that she does smile. Her eyes dance with enthusiasm when she shares a thought or praises other’s writings. That is her smile now. It is different, but makes more of an impact on others. The thought of not being able to smile is something I know that I take for granted. This woman, despite the challenges that she has faced, unknowingly, has mastered the smile within her eyes. It is a lesson in allowing myself to fully appreciate that my smile provides an entrance into my heart. It is a central meeting place and while she may have lost that aspect, she has found other ways to inspire and connect with others. She has made her inability her ability.