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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A friend's light

As I type this millions of white ice crystals are swirling earthwards outside my window--the beginning of a spring snowstorm predicted to leave us with 10cm of snow and winds sweeping the island with 60-90km/hr winds, just in case we were thinking winter had packed her bags early this year. I love the snow. I love how different snow feels to rain--not just in how much more softly it falls, but in the effect is has on the world that it blankets in its whiteness. It gives off light, makes everything and everyone slow down, and seems to be saying "shhhhhh.....be quiet. Tread softly. Notice the details."

I was reading a blog entry by one of my favourite bloggers, Karen Walrond at Chookooloonks.com this morning entitled "Look for the Light."What this blog entry is about is looking for the light not just to take the best photograph (Karen is an incredible photographer), but to look for the light in every single person around you as well. This idea is in line with my own belief that is a person has nine not so awesome characteristics and one great characteristic I should focus on the one good characteristic and overlook the other nine. Easier said than done, I know, but it is what I aim for nevertheless.

It being Gratitude Monday, I thought I would take some inspiration from Karen's title, and share something with you about a friend of mine whose light has been quite literally flooding my life lately.

I met Honeylyn in 2009 in the laundry room in the building I used to live in here on Prince Edward Island. It amuses me even now that we met in the laundry room. Some people are obviously just *meant* to cross paths. Honeylyn is from the Philippines. She comes from a family of nine children, and her parents are rice farmers. Officially she moved to Prince Edward Island to study nursing, but I have a growing suspicion that the real reason she migrated around the world was to transform hearts by sharing her own light and helping those around her seek out and brighten their own light.

Since returning to Prince Edward Island at the end of December I have started spending a lot of my free time with Honeylyn. I have been watching how she both gives her light, and finds light in others. Honeylyn works very long hours at an elderly people's care facility, which requires a great deal of patience, perseverance, kindness and compassion. The rest of her time she spends at the university or the hospital progressing towards becoming a fully qualified nurse. When she is not working or studying, Honeylyn is actively involved in serving her community. One activity she is actively engaged in is leading a local junior youth group. Every Friday evening she meets with this group of youth, prepares food with them, enjoys social time with them, and then leads a session during which the youth develop their power of expression, discuss social justice and environmental issues, and learn what it means to be active agents of positive change in their community.

Honeylyn is quiet and soft-spoken. She does not impose her views on others, but shares them lovingly and with humility. She is rarely the centre of attention yet I often find myself noticing that if she were not in the room things would not be going nearly as well or as smoothly as they are. When the youth finish their meal and most of us are sitting at the table chatting, Honeylyn has usually quietly withdrawn to wash dishes so that we can quickly move on to the next part of the evening. She has her hands in the underlying mechanics of what is going on in a very subtle yet effective way that empowers those around her and encourages them to learn, grow and serve.

In the past few weeks Honeylyn has been a terrific friend to have around. She has accompanied me to movies, on walks, and out for tea and for supper. She and I have shared home-cooked meals, studied/worked together, discussed our challenges and our hopes, shared a lot of laughter, and sat and said prayers together. Last week when I heard that one of my best friends may well be very unwell, Honeylyn said she wanted to say the Baha'i Long Healing Prayer for my friend -- which moved me deeply. Last night I had to walk downtown on a rather chilly night to take photos of an open mic evening at Timothy's coffee shop for their Facebook page. I had a fever and a sore throat and did not really feel like going anywhere but was preparing to head out anyway when Honeylyn called to ask if I would like some company. She had been out all day at work and at community events, but she was still offering to accompany me downtown on a cold night and expose herself to whatever germs I was spreading around last night. Her presence for the walk down and back, and the couple hours that we were downtown made my night so much lighter and full of joy than it would have been if I had been alone. This evening I was sitting here sucking on throat losenges and waiting for my laundry to dry when the phone rang. It was Honeylyn calling to see how I was feeling. No matter how old a person gets, receiving a phone call to ask how you are feeling when you are under the weather is the best gift a friend can offer. More light.

How about you friends? Is there someone in your life whose presence not only sheds light, but encourages you to find and share your own light?  Have you told this person how much you appreciate their light in your life? Happy Gratitude Monday, friends!

1 comment:

  1. Love your light! This is a story of endearing, inspiring friendship. You ARE truly blessed to have such a friend in your life! My love and prayers to you both! Always, mom