I had the audacity to pity someone today.
I was buying groceries at Publix. I’m waiting in line behind this man who has a simple gallon of milk. Meanwhile, I’ve got Rolly (my shopping cart) packed with whatever I get Buy One Get One Free. He looked just….sad, broken. He was no taller than 5’7, no thicker than 110 pounds, probably close to 50 years old. He wore these ratted, poorly fit jeans that were too baggy for him, a raggedy ball cap that was stained with the grime of his day, and though he wore a mask, you could see the worn and weathered skin of a man with heartbreak.
His shaky hands paid and he was on his way. I could see him out of the front window put the milk in his tattered back pack, unlock a bike no one would bother stealing and peddled away.
And I had the audacity to pity him….
I paid for my groceries and decided to stop and check my weight on the “universal scale of truth” outside every Publix. I hadn’t done it in a while, for I didn’t really think it was necessary. I’ve been eating more than usual….haven’t I?
After taking out of my pockets my keys, my phone, and my wallet I take a big proud leap onto the scale to see that I had slipped to 103 pounds. I nearly stumbled to the floor. I caught a glimpse of myself in the glass of the front doors. I haven’t looked in a mirror in a while and I know perfectly why. I haven’t wanted to. I know what I’ll see. Truth. And I’m not quite ready for that.
I threw up half way home, pushing a shopping cart full of about 50 pounds of food….much of which I knew (while shaking my head!) I wasn’t probably going to eat.
A mile and a half later I perch myself on the steps of the front door to gather myself. Phillip opens the front door to help bring the groceries in.
“You over did it again, didn’t you?”
“Yeah….that’s beginning to be understatement.”
“You’re not in the best shape to be doing this.”
“Well, I tend to think that if I keep doing it I will be in shape.”
I went to use the restroom before putting the groceries away. While washing my hands I dared myself to look up and see my reflection. One arched brow lead to my left eye peeking and spying at my face in the mirror. I saw my eyes first. That pretty much is where true reflection begins. You can scan your body up and down all day long and look for flaws and imperfections….but, your eyes will tell you every lie that you’re trying to hide.
I’ll honestly say I can’t tell you what I saw, for I only caught a glimpse of what I’ve been trying to hide from myself….and that was enough for me to turn away, put the groceries away, and wish Phillip a good night as he head to work, as I went back to my embroidery.
For hours, be it just a petal or only a bloom, I’ll spend my focus on feeling better. Each flower releasing me of any hurt, any pain, any discomfort, any….nastiness that might be harming me. I spend my time forgetting. The needle moves with a hush through the warm fabric and I get to be alone with my God….
And the more I do that, the more wonderful things begin to happen. So many feelings of ecstasy and pleasure and warmth and bliss and blessings. I feel alive and healthy and calm and real….Little French knots help me pray, looping stitches into daisies helps me meditate, satin stitches help me lose myself in contemplation. I not only feel better, but I am inclined to think that there is nothing at all wrong with me. So, back to the punch and pull of the thread I’ll go….flowing with this sense of forgetfulness that allows me to see everything clearly.
I’ve been so obsessive about showing you photos of the progress of my embroidery, rather than pictures of my face. For, in a strange way, these embroidery pieces are the mirrored reflections of a man trying to avoid pain by absorbing and creating as many beautiful things as possible for him to look at…so that he doesn’t have to look at himself.
I’ll put more flowers here, more colors over there. I will crowd this little canvas with as much beauty as I can cram in, blending into bouquets the real and the imaginary.
I’ll take down that old curtain and use that for a canvas. I’ll take these old sheets and practice some 18th century techniques for bordering linen. I will dye a canvas with beet juice. Hell, I’ll use the backside of a canvas! I’ll sift through the change drawer for .55 cents just for that one color of DMC thread to make a flower pop. I’ll do whatever is needed to keep me from feeling bad….And I’ll begin to feel better. And I’ll realize I haven’t eaten in a while and grab something.
Yes. There is a lot to talk about. Prayers would help, they always do. I’ll tell you more when I can.
In the meantime, I have a desperate need to punch things….Thank God it’s only with a needle and thread.
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