The only time we met, I went into the warmth of her presence like a moth to a bright flame.I had heard about her deep faith and wanted to know this beautiful, blond young woman.We fell into an unexpected friendship.
The painting above depicts the Chinese tale of Namu, a young girl who is playing in the Eastern Sea. She was unable to reach shore and drowned.She is then transformed into a bird called Jingwei. She lives on Departing Doves Mountain among the mulberry trees.Namu now resembles a crow with a patterned head, white beak and red feet She regularly carries twigs and stones to the sea in an effort to fill it up.The sea laughs at her and she answers that she will spend the next hundred million years filling up the sea, so no one else will share her fate. From this myth comes the Chinese chegyo idiom which means Jingwei tries to fill the sea or dogged determination and perseverance in the face of seemingly impossible odds.
My friend Michele was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 when she returned from her honeymoon. The honey of that trip left her shortly thereafter. After treatments, she was doing well but in 2010 her cancer returned with a vengeance. At that time she was given 3-5 years .That was 8 years ago, She fights, she hopes, she endures.
In the midst of her journey, she has been led to produce beauty products specifically for cancer survivors whose skin has been affected by chemotherapy. She now goes to a retirement facility and gives facials weekly. But what she brings is her story. One that has touched me so deeply that I can't explain it. In the painting above, my sweet girl stands facing that dragon which is cancer. Through all of this, she has a heart filled with appreciation. Her most recent note says this: "I am so grateful to the Lord , especially for putting all these angels in my life.." Those are the white doves swirling about her speaking words of love as she faces her journey.