Thursday, August 28, 2008

True Power

Something nice happened today. Something that took me out of myself and reminded me of the power of a simple act of kindness. I'm still feeling the glow of it now. I'm tired and should go to bed but I've decided to write this now, I want to see if I can capture this feeling in words.

When we moved we looked long and hard at the things we had, we were moving from a three bedroom house to a two bedroom apartment. From a full basement to a couple of closets. So things became an issue. What would we keep, what would we give away, what would we leave behind. Big questions. Often surprisingly emotional questions.

Anyone who has been to our home can tell you that we own a lot of artwork. All originals, all bought from the artists themselves. Some of the artists have gone on to great things, but most have not. But we didn't buy as investment, we bought what we liked. One of the paintings that we've had for years began to lose it's charm for me as my taste changed and matured and I wanted to talk to Joe about it. See what he thought. Did we want to keep this painting?

To help us make the decision I looked the artist's name up on Google and found, sadly, that he had just died. I immediately remembered him, a bright mind, an intense manner, a funny way with words. We didn't know him well, but still I felt sad to hear he had died. Then I found a blog written by his God Son, it was a wonderful tribute to the artist and I was moved by it.

We talked about it, Joe and I, and decided to email the young man and ask him if he'd like the painting. I knew that it would be weird for him to get an email out of the blue, but there was no harm in trying. Off went the email and back came a response within minutes. He was shocked at the offer, surprised that we wanted to just give it to him, but he accepted. Joe and I were busy for the next few weeks so we arranged to give him the picture today.

He emailed and asked, again, if we were sure that we wanted to part with the picture. If we were sure that we wanted to give it to him. I had re-read his post, his tribute to the artist, and was absolutely sure.

I've not been feeling really well these last couple of days, so when I got home from work today, I just got into my housecoat and Joe agreed to simply take the painting down to the lobby - where we'd agreed to pass it over to him. We hadn't invited him to the apartment because we felt that strangers shouldn't put people into that position. It seemed 'stalkerish' so we suggested the lobby of the apartment building. I think he was relieved.

He called a couple minutes before arriving and I explained to him that I had tranferred out of my wheelchair and was resting, that Joe would bring the painting down. He was taken a bit aback but said thankyou. Just before hanging up, his voice caught and he said again, 'Really, thank you, I will treasure this.'

Joe came up from downstairs and said that he'd been quite moved as the painting was taken with reverance and the artist's god son was really, really touched. Goodbyes were said, he grabbed Joe into a hug and then rushed out the door.

I felt powerful. Truly powerful. I sometimes forget, I think we all sometimes forget, that it is possible to do something simple, something nice, something powerful in someone else's life. For me, as a man who sits in a wheelchair, who needs help getting around ... I still have the power to make the day better for another. For me as a man who uses a reacher to pull my pants up in the morning, I still have the capacity to reach another person's heart.

While I am most certainly disabled.

The best part of me has not been crippled.

The painting is a watercolour, framed in beautiful wood, of a man sitting in a bar looking out of a window. I've often wondered what that man was looking at, what was beyond the pane of glass. Now I know.

10 comments:

Shan said...

Wow that's so great - the artist's work coming full circle. I imagine how thrilled and emotional I'd be to get a phone call from someone offering me something my grandmother created, or even a letter written by my grandad...it chokes me up.

In decluttering articles they always say 'if you don't really love something, pass it on to someone who will." You can be totally satisfied about where that painting went.

Heike said...

Dave. Something bothered me a bit about his post.Couldn't quite put my finger to it. But i've just worked out what.
You write that "While I am most certainly disabled. The best part of me has not been crippled."
You really should not be thinking like that any more. Do i deduct a slight tendency here to undervalue yourself because of your physical disability. Dave, don't you know how much you are valued and appreciated? Don't you know how much we love you? There is nothing diminished about you or your spirit, even though bits of that old body might not wanna play ball any more.
We value you, Dave. I don't care how you put your pants up, or down, or how ofen for that matter. I read your blog every day, depsite what you get up to with your underwear. Why? Because you are simply the best!

wendy said...

How amazing that you looked up the artist...that simple act changed the whole process from one of down sizing to one of giving a deeply moving gift to someone who will love and treasure it. As to what you can and can't do physically...that has nothing to do with what you can do in other areas. I come to your blog every day to be uplifted, educated and/or entertained...depending on the day! (No pressure! It's just what you do!)

Anonymous said...

That was at least 2 wonderful things you did yesterday - the other was the simple email you sent me - it changed my whole outlook. Freedom. thanks MDN
PS I was going to say 1.5 wonderful things because Joe gets credit too! but I think he deserves his own whole point.

annie said...

Can someone techy do a wonderful thing for me?? The comments have gone down to a font size almost too small for me to see especially with longer comments with a lot of text but the size of the blog post font has stayed the same. Help?

FridaWrites said...

That's a really beautiful thing to do when it would have been so easy just to group it with other items to donate. It took time and effort on your part when it's so much easier to just toss something that's no longer wanted, but it's a gift that will forever be treasured by this man for whom this artist meant so much. This reminds me to be mindful of how I approach every task, even "just" clearing my space. My husband recently asked his grandmother for a small metal sculpture that his grandfather had made--she still had one but didn't realize how important this memory was to him.

I'll second what heike says, though I think we all fall into that kind of language sometimes.

luvmypeanut said...

Dave - Beautiful post!

Annie, if you use IE, you can go to View (on the menu bar)- Text Size and set the font to a larger size. HTH

Jennifer said...

Annie,
Also a shortcut (I think this works on IE). Hold down the control key (ctrl) and hit the + key (=/+) to make text bigger. "-" makes it smaller.

Kate said...

Dave: Sometimes the simplest gesture can touch the most!! what you did was fantastic.

annie said...

Thank you luvmypeanut and jennifer!