When I was a wee one, my mother always cuddled me and told me that I was her Friday Child—loving and giving. She impressed upon me this was an asset that would make my life maybe not easier, but happier.
“Everyone shines in his/her way,” she would tell me. “Look for the glimmer. When you see it, point it out—don’t keep it to yourself. Then watch that glimmer SHINE bright.” I wasn’t sure what she was talking about.
I watched my mother when we were out together. People were always happy to see her. Whenever she came into contact with someone, whether waitress or store clerk or stranger waiting for the same bus, Mama always said something.
“What a beautiful complexion you have.”
“How lovely your hair is.”
“You have wonderful taste in earrings.”
“That dress looks wonderful on you. Of course, you could wear a potato sack and still look gorgeous.”
“I see you had your ears lowered. New haircut? Very handsome!”
Sometimes she would just thank people for being so kind or attentive or efficient.
I watched her work her magic. People stood taller, smiled wider. An initially monotone voice infused with a happy lilt. I realized THAT was my mother’s shine! Oh, Mama had many shines but that spotlight she aimed at people was brilliant.
She taught me everyone has a shine–everyone! It isn’t necessarily a physical attribute. When one points out another’s assets, whether physical or character, s/he shines from the inside out. I realized as I grew older that was what my mother meant: Everyone has a shine within. One just has to brush aside the debris of the day so it can shine through. S/he shines on someone else, then the shine gets passed on.
One day as my mother was tending her garden she called me over. Cradling a still-attached rose in her hand, she told me to study its many petals. Closer to the center, color deepened and fragrance grew more heavenly. She pointed out that it wasn’t jealous of the other roses on the bush; together they made an impressively beautiful sight.
My mother put her arm around me and said, “The same God that created this rose, that butterfly, the ocean, the moon, and the stars…He created you, baby girl. The same hand that created all things—the powerful, the constant, the amazing…” She took my face in her hands and looked into my eyes. “…the beautiful—created you. You’re my gift. You’re my shine.”
My mother was my gift from God. She’s gone now, but I still strive to be the woman my mother taught me to be. Some days I don’t feel much like shining, struggle to find my own glimmer.
Then I remember: I have inside me that glimmer of hope. You see, Hope was my mother’s name. Daily I strive to continue to be her shine, and because she lives in me, she’s mine.
Today, another day, another chance, to rise and SHINE!
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P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts, so please be sure to comment below. Each of our commenters will be entered in a drawing for this month’s FREE book giveaway, Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship by author Teena Stewart.
Friday Child is a New Orleans transplant starting a new life in mid-Michigan. A survivor of drug addiction and Hurricane Katrina, she is currently healing from domestic abuse. Her loves are music and writing, and she asserts that she challenges her Multiple Sclerosis, and not the other way around. Having been a writer since age 16, she is currently working on “the book” everyone has been telling her all her life to write.
2 thoughts on “How Hope Taught Me to Shine”
I enjoyed reading Friday Child’s article. It brought to mind that each of us is a gift given to our family, to the world we live in, to the people we encounter on a daily basis. As a gift each of us has something to give to someone else. It can be as simple as saying hello to a stranger that you meet on the street, or a smile or saying a kind word. We don’t know but that just may change someone’s day. So in this way we do shine.
What a legacy! From generation to generation