Jill Lear is an artist who lives (last I knew) in the Pacific Northwest. My niece. I hardly know her, in the real sense of knowing—like, what her life struggles are, what her favorite foods/colors/CDs are, what she really cares about. It’s so funny. In the way of families, there is an implied familiarity. But we don’t live in the same world that created that implied familiarity (living very close together, sometimes three generations in one house, everyone all up in everyone else’s business.) Not really what’s going on between her and me. It’s the same with me and my aunt. I know her name, and could probably come up with her address and phone number, but I don’t have a clue who she really is, nor she me. We know each other through stories told by others in between us who know us well. I have always been curious about Jill, though, and would love to know her better.
One day, about ten years ago, I went to visit her with Elena. Jill lived on Orcas Island in those days, and had a lovely piece of property, and a house that she shared with her magnificent dog, a giant schnauzer, named Baloo (Balou?). He may still be in her life. I hope so. Anyway, during that visit, she showed us the paintings she’d been working on. While we were admiring them, I noticed on one of the tables, a couple of little tiny watercolors. When I expressed my appreciation for them, she just gave them to me. This one (shown above) is 5” x 3 1/2”.
She has no idea that this drawing has sat at my desk and quietly inspired me for the past 10 years. It’s something I’m grateful for, every single time my eyes fall on the image, and really, she ought to know this. I’ve often said that we have no idea who we’re influencing or helping as we move through our lives. But it’s also true that, unless we pay close attention, we have no idea how much we’ve been receiving this influence or positive energy.
Take some time right now to notice and acknowledge some small positive event or thing or thought that you’ve received from someone else in your life. Let them know what it meant to you. These things count. Let them take root in you. Grow a big messy garden of thanks in your heart, especially thanks for the people on the periphery of your life, who don’t even know how good they’re making you feel.
Thank you, Jill, for letting this small jewel come through you onto paper, and for giving it to me. It has done more for me than you will ever know.