from Irises

Kate watched Mary quietly open the gate and walk in the direction of the church. Knowing Mary, she was probably looking for a place to pray, to be alone, in the quiet of the sanctuary.
            Kate was about to go inside when she saw that the door to the toolshed stood open slightly. As she went to close it, she noticed Mary’s paintings inside. She stepped in, leaving the door open.

The first painting she saw was the unfinished painting of the two irises. She remembered Van Gogh’s painting from art history class. It was amazing how close Mary had come to capturing the violet hues, the incandescent light of the Van Gogh. She put the painting to one side and looked at the rest. She was so startled by the last one in the stack that she almost dropped it. It was her portrait, the one that Mary painted before Mama’s accident. Her long, dark brown hair flowed over her shoulders; her eyes sparkled with intelligence and kindness. She was glad the eyes in the portrait reflected kindness, for it meant that Mary had seen that in her once. Mary always spoke about the light she saw in others. There, Kate thought. Now I can see the light in me as well.

Irises coverShe put her portrait back in its place, closed up the shed, and went back inside the house. She wished Father was around. The only decision she or Mary needed to make when he was alive was whether to obey willingly or unwillingly. Now the world seemed to be made of one choice after another, and each choice involved the suffering of someone, somewhere. She remembered Father’s words that last morning. Love makes everything that is heavy light. Was he wrong? So far, love seemed to be making everything that was heavy heavier. Either that or there was no love in what she was doing.
            She entered Mother’s room and saw her sleeping peacefully, her eyes closed. Kate lifted the sheet that covered her and lay down next to her. Tears came to her eyes with the realization that what she felt was love, what she was doing was for love and because of love. There was so much love in her and it was uncontainable. She held Mother’s hand and let her love flow through.