OPINION

SGLY: See the flowers

By Tiffany Chartier
Special to the Prosper Press

There are days when even the clouds look puffy—like eyes that have cried puddles upon puddles on sidewalks. I see my reflection in their pools, and I wonder if it is true that in the lows of life we are gifted a perspective not found on sunny days.

I feel pulled by the sadness around me, or maybe more accurately, in me. I am not sure which, but I know both exist. I imagine all of us have a raincloud in our sky that has recently blown through, is currently above us, or is nearing our horizon. We may hide the grey behind a sunny smile, but it is still there.

Sometimes our clouds are large and thunderous; other times, small and hushed. There are few truly clear days. Clouds have been included in our pictures since we were old enough to hold a crayon and a piece of manila paper. In clouds we find shapes of animals and silver linings. But we also give the hovering, dark shadows in our life names like disappointment, regret, loneliness, fear, and worry.

As a child I drew clouds of white against a blue sky with yellow rays coming from a sun positioned in the top corner. At the bottom I would draw colorful flowers and bright green grass. It was not until I was older that I learned in school that rain was necessary for the flowers and grass to grow. I discovered the full truth of this knowledge as I became an adult.

This past year has been a season of notoriously changing weather—rapid, harsh, unexpected, and sometimes cruelly brutal. One storm after another. No wonder the clouds look tired, swollen with tears, and grey. Growth that has come from this season has been hard-earned and deeply felt.

French artist Henri Émile Benoît Matisse was known for his use of color—he used color as a language to create his works. Yet, this famous painter came into the study of color by way of a dark storm. In 1889, at the age of 20, he suffered from anxiety and appendicitis and endured months of isolation in recovery. During his time of convalescence, his mother gave him art supplies to help him pass the time. From that point forward, Matisse added intentional color to otherwise grey days.

Matisse once said, "There are always flowers for those who want to see them."

A part of this story that resonates with me is the unspoken importance of the mother. Indeed, Matisse became a famous painter by growing his talents, but it was his mother who saw the need to help and gave her son supplies to create a different perspective.

With Mother's Day approaching, many understand the significance of having a mother who helps us out of the grey. I dare say a mother's love is one of the greatest forces of nature.

Beyond our mothers there are those who mother us with love in many ways. Like the friend who encourages you, challenges you to remain positive, and tenderly and firmly holds you as you find shelter in their hug. Or perhaps the mate who picks yellow flowers under a grey sky and puts them in your hand.

These are the people who pull us out from our rainclouds and into the warmth of love's rays even when we cannot see the sun is in our corner. Yes, these are the people who help dry our tears by handkerchief or kindness, allowing us to feel without feeling lost and alone. These are the ones

who help supply us with what we need to paint a different perspective: laughter, joy, hope, assurance, strength, love, and loyalty. These are the people who stay. They stay with you through life and death. They remain. Always remain no matter the weather. They are part of the very strokes that paint our days.

What a gift. Yes, what a gift. To know who you are today is in part due to the kaleidoscope of love upon your canvas, the growth of you as an artist, and even the shadows and clouds.

May we take the opportunity in May to see the flowers—to recognize our mothers as well as those who have mothered us in love by brightening our world, helping us move beyond the grey and into love's rays.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.