I shan’t attempt at concealment but acknowledge wholeheartedly to You that today someone was ever so close to pushing me towards the edge from which anyone would shed tears of breathless joy, and to make things even more awkward it happened whilst I was working. I was certainly not expecting that a gift so profound and unthinkably deep so as to strum my very heartstrings was to make its way to me. I felt as if my Almighty had put his fatherly arms around my little shoulders, reassuring into my ear, “My Daughter, you spoke of your shadow seeds to the world, not caring for how they would come to see you, let Me now gift you with the very treasure that you have sought to return to the world…” Indeed, my stubby and hobbity garden fingers, even as I am typing these words onto the screen, tremble with balletic gratitude for Destiny exuding once more a sign of its alliance with my objective to inspire people to re-embrace the power of the book. ♥
Ah, yes, You are lost! Please permit me to start from the beginning because that is always a good place from which to begin! Giggle, giggle! ♥
Sue is a lady approaching her 70th birthday. An artist, designer, poet and writer, I am not Sue’s teacher, though it must be said that in light of her abundance of life wisdom and her constant desire to help others to come to realise what their purpose is to be on this earth makes her meet my criteria of what a good teacher ought to be. An orphan who was lucky enough to be raised by loving and supportive parents, Sue grew up in a family environment that held an unshakeable commitment to encouraging the little girl to flourish in whatever field she wished to make a niche in. Alas, in her teenage years a serious illness thwarted her education and many years were lost to ensuring that her health returned to normal. Her darkest and most shadowy of years was also the very period in her life that the clarity of her Destiny became more lucid than ever before, she knew that her path was one of constant expression as an Artist and to use that gift as a basis from which to support and inspire others. There was a sure and uncanny resemblance between Sue’s timeline and my own. We were both children who had at one time harboured shadow seeds in our soul, but never did we accept defeat by its overwhelming and heinous desire to obscure.
We did not strive for Light. We sought to be the Light.
Sue was a complete stranger to me – a bit like our dear Lata ji – and she would come into the shop now and again, where I do extra shifts in the weekends to help my family out, and I would always make time for her, listening to her speak about her latest writing assignment or craft project. A lady of a multitude of talents, it was not so much her technical proficiency that had me absorbed, but the warmth in her storytelling aspect. She seemed to be not speaking words, what I heard was more like the rays of the sun and somehow they had found a way to be spoken through the lips of a human being. An extraordinary lady, I was always humbled in her presence and if only I was not working I would have requested that she sit down and that I make her a cup of tea so that together we could share in the beautiful joy of learning about the stories that made us who we are today.
On Friday she came into the shop for the first time in the new year, and we immediately fell into a chirpy chat about my teaching and photography and writing.
She touched my arm and said with the sweetest of whispers, “Mazzy, it is so wonderful to meet someone on the same wavelength, the world is going so fast but you make me happy. I am going to bring something for you tomorrow, a present and I want you to have it”.
I smiled and rubbed her arm and said that was not necessary and that to see her, every now and again, was enough for me.
“No, I insist!” Sue was solidly fixed in her intentions.
Admittedly, I was curious as to what she had in store for me. We exchanged farewells and setting head to one side, like You do when You fondly admire something that deserves utter reverence, I thanked my Almighty for sending onto my path another angel in the guise of a human.
And it was today, whilst in the hive of activity of work that Sue appeared out of the blue and from her Mary Poppins bag she pulled out a white envelope studded with silver stars.
“Sue, what is this, my lovely?” My breath hung between two heartbeats and already I could sense what the package contained. I could feel tears welling up, but I did everything I could to hold them back.
“Mazzy, you are wonderful lady and it is always a great pleasure to speak to you. You make me feel good about myself. This is for you…” Sue opened the envelope and out came a book, a modest and yet beautiful piece of art, filled with pages and pages of poetry that she had penned during the years she nurtured her shadow seeds. The words were not pretentious or showy or fanciful, they were instead simple and bold and, most importantly, honest. When I turned to look at the back cover I was greeted with a stunning botanical drawing of a deep red flower composed by Sue herself, I shall let the photograph below speak for itself! Sue does not exist in the virtual world and her work, like my own, was not meant for fame or fortune, nor was it designed for accruing ‘Likes’ or praising comments. She, like I, sought to be Light and that implies shining our words out to the world, never ever asking for anything in return. Tell me, my dear reader, has the sunshine that basks your face in its amber brine ever demand that You return its Light back to them? No. We Artists are of the same ilk. Ours is a choppy sea, a pot-holed path, a steep ascent and a dark cave but we always find a way to work with it so to distil the essence of Light. ♥
“Sue, I have no words left in me. You should not have to do this. I am truly humbled.” I closed my eyes and told myself not to cry, not here and not now.
“Mazzy, it is for you. You were meant to have it. It is my legacy to you. Pass on the message.” I could not tell if it was Sue or God smiling. They were indistinguishable to me.
I grabbed her and kissed her cheek. She hugged me with maternal tenderness, priceless and divine and to say anymore would be a futile exercise in attempting to capture the sanctity of Life itself. I am only a small hobbit in a chaotic world, yet Sue seemed to know something about me that even I had not yet allowed myself to see. She had that special knowing look about her, and as we were about to go our separate ways I promised that I would send her a letter of thanks after I had finished reading her gift. She grinned. I think she knew I would do something as old-fashion and sincere as like that in order to express my gratitude! Great minds think alike, right? ♥
I thanked her profusely and told her that I would share her extraordinary story with other people. It was the least that I could do for this amazing lady, and as a Storyteller myself, the necessity to recite the goodness of a good soul is always a moral imperative.
“Bye bye, Sue! Come and visit me soon, my lovely!” Waving our farewells, I turned and walked to my colleagues where I excitedly spilled the story out to them with enough cheer and energy in my voice as to lift a hot-air balloon off the ground! A rare and special book had entered my orbit today – ah, how wondrous this thing called Destiny! ♥
I am sat on my bed as I come to closing these words for the night before re-joining my family downstairs again, however on my bookshelf I am drawn to the sight of the Holy Koran and its verdant emerald green cover, for it glows at me with the sheen of satin grass and I hear my Almighty as clear and syrupy as the robin’s song at dawn, “My Daughter, now you have two of me…” ♥♥♥
Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2016