“I’ll never forget that letter you wrote…” her Mom said as they walked around the lake. It took Iris thirty minutes to convince her to take the walk simply for the sake of enjoying its purpose.

She was referring to a letter written twenty years prior, from a daughter who’d not once ever expressed her emotions and who in five pages released every single one of them. Their relationship then entered a period of silence where Iris felt it should forever remain until she broke it several years later, the amount of time it took her to find forgiveness and let go of judgement.

Hope she’s not looking for another apology, Iris thought because it was only in the last ten years that she learned who owned the value of an apology and besides, the truth of what required forgiving could only be resolved within because the body progressively stiffens when it stands without armor in the projection of other’s truths that fight for infiltration and alignment until being accepted as its own, until arthritis becomes a natural human affliction attributed to bone health rather than flexibility, the freedom of form and spirit that is everyone’s birthright and witnessed most often when children play in their unadulterated truth and which too often becomes only noise to be hushed and beaten into submissive tones.

What Iris wrote in the past highlighted her heart, not her mother’s and she never brought it up because it was healed and for her, the details of what she’d written were as lost as a string of twenty-two random numbers captured in short term memory. 

“… you wrote that you’d have been better off dead than to have been born to a mother like me.” her Mom finished.

Iris walked alongside in silence while contemplating what string of words to conjure that might keep her mother from closing the curtains on the sunlit reflections in her eyes that were bouncing off the water.  When she didn’t say anything her mother continued.

“I never thought you’d talk to me again and I know it’s because of God that we’ve come to where we are. I thank Him every day for you and for giving me another chance to be your Mother” she said as she continued walking.

Iris smiled to realize her mother’s heart was healed after all and held in tears at the knowing of how.  Still silent she slowed a bit to let her walk ahead because she wanted to say a quick prayer.

“Thank you for helping me remember that healing does not come to me on my own nor does it find its way into the hearts of others without you. Would I ruin this moment if I asked you to make her forget that letter, cause geez, I was a kid. Oh, and thanks for letting me visit those ducks who look like they eat dead people as a pastime. And thank you for the sun today and the dry ground cause the rain and all but I love the rain too and especially the rainbows. Should I be worried about that guy with the binoculars up ahead? What’s he looking at? Is he looking at my kids?”

“Iris, what’s going on? Hurry up!” her mom yelled from hundreds of yards away.

Iris snapped out of her quick prayer to run next to her mom. It dawned on her that she had lots to learn because catching up to a woman she’d once felt a million steps ahead of was a reality she could never have foreseen.

Before the day ended she meditated on a painting promise she’d made to herself years prior.

She promised to live a life where the past would serve only as an unobtrusive background with purpose only to highlight the beauty of the present, but more importantly, she promised only to go back if those she loved were living opposite that promise, in a muted present of monochrome backgrounds and sleeping in a brightly highlighted past.

Iris is on patrol 24/7 to knock on as many heart doors as required to deliver the forgotten gift of paintbrushes and the colors of promise.