Thursday, March 22, 2007
She gazes toward the left in the black and white photo, probably to where her mother was strategically placed to draw her attention and to encourage a smile. The eyes are large and bright, and seem to radiate love and trust. A beginner's smile opens her mouth slightly to reveal she has no teeth yet. Hinted eyebrows lift slightly as if to indicate surprise or pleasure. This is her first professionally shot photograph and still a novelty -- nothing to fear. . . . as long as Mom is near. The woman who gazes so intently on this pure, guileless countenance wishes for a moment that she could return to that age of innocence and dependence where parents' loving arms kept her from harm and pain; to a time when she still trusted and believed in the goodness of all people. In middle age the wounds are nearly healed and the woman has embraced herself as she is -- no small feat having tried and failed at many incarnations of a woman others wanted her to be. She has discovered that memories are powerful tools. They provide perspective and gut-intelligence to help her make fewer errors in judgement. Focusing on the good memories has helped to heal her injured spirit. The past is out of her control and the future cannot be seen. She takes one day at a time and finds many things for which she is thankful. She has learned that focusing on her blessings provides great joy and strength even if they are as simple as making a baby smile.