Are you having 'One of those Days'?
I stood in front of the heavy wooden door of a large, detached house that was surrounded by overgrown rambling bushes, and wondered who lived in this wonderful home full of character. I had been asked by a lady to come to her home to do some minor DIY repairs.
I knocked on the heavy brass door knocker, thinking of how the loud noise was irritating my niggling headache, when the door opened and a small, acutely bent over elderly lady welcomed me and invited me in.
As I followed her down the shadowy hallway to the kitchen she asked me to sit on a kitchen stool with her. She pulled herself up onto the stool and leant backwards, lifted her head to look up at my face and smiled, "Ahh, there you are."
Her spine seemed to have collapsed at the base of her neck, and her head was horizontal to the ground. I felt full of compassion and yet curiosity as to how her condition had come about.
We briefly discussed various small jobs that needed doing and then she asked me to follow her to her sitting room. She took me to the mantlepiece and pointed to group photo of three slim, sprightly, smiling women standing on a beautiful sandy beach. She said, "That lady in the middle was me, three years ago."
Astonished, I struggled to see how they could possibly be the same person, but as she met my gaze she smiled and her eyes twinkled, I realised it was her.
She told me, "I lived in Australia for 20 years, swam every day in the sea and felt healthy and well. But when I got to eighty years of age I was told to have a health check. When I did, I was told that I had lumps in my breasts and that I had to have my breasts removed. I refused, telling them, 'I've had these breasts for eighty years, so they aren't going anywhere!" So they made me have chemotherapy, but as a result, this softened my spine which then collapsed.'
She then said, "But my body and this condition have set me free. Every day I come into this room and sit down and close my eyes. I then feel myself swimming in that beautiful sea just like I always did. I can go wherever I want, whenever I want. And I can hear the sound of the waves, feel the cool refreshing water and see the fish around me. I am blessed."
As I looked around the room, I saw books scattered around with titles such as 'Positive thinking and You', 'Free your mind', 'Let go of your fears' and 'Change your Thoughts and Change your Life'.
I realised that this beautiful Soul hadn't just bought those books but had read them, and was living proof of how powerful our thoughts are.
My niggling headache suddenly felt insignificant. I left the house with a spring in my step and a smile on my face, as I knew that I had just met another teacher in my life. Twenty years on I still remember that morning as if it was yesterday. And I still keep reminding myself that, when I wake up each morning, I can choose to think on what I don't have, or I can choose to think of things that make me smile.
As I look out the window into the garden I see a fallen tree, and yet it still has beautiful blossom in a vibrant pink. I am grateful for the reminder that, even though my body is getting older, my light will always shine.