As I folded the heavy gold wrapping paper over a gift box yesterday, I thought about the expression “All that glitters is not gold”. Perhaps old age draws maudlin sentimentality nearer to the surface. The converse clamors to be heard: All that’s gold does not glitter.
My friend Jilli gifted me with one of her paintings yesterday. Her generosity stunned me into silence. Finally I leaned forward to embrace her. She whispered to me as we held each other, You are my angel. You’ll never know how much I love you.
As I pressed the heavy gold paper into shape last night, I thought about Jilli’s words. I’ve struggled to understand the affection that people have for each other. I can barely comprehend my own. Jilli and I share certain experiences but our life’s paths meagerly intersect. We met through Penny Thieme but have developed our own connection. We once told each other that we would “aspire to have coffee” together, and finally did, three years later.
Jilli’s road spans several nations whereas I’ve never even been to Mexico and just got my first passport. But we each raised one son, and practically alone — her son’s father died and mine left me. We each depended on the village to bring our boys to manhood.
She’s an artist with a wild flamboyant personality layered over a complex and deep inner life. Sometimes when we are together, I feel like the awkward stepsister to her dancing Cinderella. Jilli draws admirers to her radiance. For myself, I tend to stand in the corner greeting people as they come for the show. We’re nothing alike; and yet, somehow, we have this unbreakable bond.
I finished wrapping the presents that I bought this weekend and set them on the buffet. I’ve already sent a few to Chicago and these will ride along with me when I go. I’ve others to buy, for people here and in St. Louis. I love the Christmas season, even though I do not practice a religion which celebrates the day as the birth of a savior. This year finds me especially tender-hearted. I tread with care among the party-goers.
As I search for little gifts to give the people whom I love, my own angels, the thought of glittering and gold lingers. Perhaps I need to wipe the grime away from some old stone which I had overlooked. There might be gold beneath the filthy surface. And though I know that I cannot give as grand as I’ve been given, with each small gift I can offer a piece of my heart.
It’s the fourth day of the thirty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
Jilli Nel‘s work, “One Day At A Time”, will be on permanent display in the waiting room of Suite 100. If you’d like to see it for yourself, please come to our HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE, this Friday from 5pm to 8pm.
Three new artists will be featured in the art space of Suite 100 this Friday at the Holiday Open House:
Laura Lloyd, Mary Ann Coonrod, and Billy Peters.