The Most Precious Gift
The card still hangs on my coffee bar bulletin board. It is the most precious gift I ever received from a student. Her name is Hannah. She has brown hair streaked with black, has sensitive eyes, and said very little in class.
The card features a little hungry fox on the front. In her card, she explained that her mom was a photographer and the fox used to visit their home outside of town looking for food in the snow. This photo had been taken on Christmas Eve, and the little fox, with its stripes of orange, black and brown, was friendly but malnourished, so they fed it.
She thanked me for my kindness and said that being in my class had saved her life. The weeks before school started, she had been contemplating suicide and had gone so far as to choose a spot. She had been battling overwhelming sadness and a sense of confusion. She felt numb and alone. She wrote that at some point during the semester when she was in my Grade 12 class, she decided not to take her own life. She said that it was due to the gentle kindness and joy we experienced each day in class, and that simple acts of kindness had given her a sense of hope.
I received this card after she graduated and when she dropped it off at the school, along with a hand-drawn sketch of myself with my beloved pets, a sketch she had done from memory from one of the many photos I had on my desk and my bulletin board.
Nisargadatta said, “In Love I know that I am everything; in wisdom I know that I am nothing.” This story makes me cry, because Love can transform moments or days or even lives. Anyone who loves is a conduit of this Love, for their partners, friends, or family.
Kindness is an art. You must be self-aware. You must sit quietly with your own pain so you do not unconsciously give it to others. You must hone your craft (in my case, teaching), so that you can infuse it with kindness. You must practice, practice, practice. You must choose for it over and over again. When you are too tired, that is when you must do it. When you desperately want to ignore something, that is when you must acknowledge and act on it. You must train your eyes to SEE others, and train your mind to listen. You must train your heart to be broken and to come back stronger. You must trust in the force of goodness. You must not control the outcome.
Which is why Hannah’s card is so precious to me. I had no idea she was suffering at the level she was. I could sense her aloneness, and I loved her writing and incredibly intelligent and gentle heart. And I told her so. Every day. Not to be nice. To be truthful. And to show Love.
So her card stands as a reminder to me that it matters. Our energy matters. We matter. We often matter to people and never know that we do. Love matters. And it really does save us.
Medium: Faber-Castell Polychromos Color Pencil Painting, Caran D-Ache Luminance, and Derwent Lightfast Oil-based Coloured Pencils.
Paper: Strathmore Artist Tiles | 6” x 6” | 15.3 x 15.3 cm | 60 lb. | 160 g/m2
Original: Includes professionally framed in a white frame, acid free, straight fit, Ultravue 70% glass and acid free backing with a wire backing. Bio, Certificate of Authenticity, and their individual story.
Size: 6” x 6” | Framed 7 ⅛” SQUARE and ¾” deep
Pre-Order Limited Edition Print to Canvas: I have my artwork professionally scanned locally here in Vancouver, B.C. and printed to canvas using eco-solvent inks with a satin finish, gallery wrapped, and saw hook. Bio, Certificate of Authenticity, and their individual story is also included.
Size: 6 x 6 inches
The Most Precious Gift
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