Sunday, 11 April 2010
A Still Life to Save a Life
Arthur came to me one day and asked if we could go and visit a person who had called to ask for help. We had visited this lady once before but what she wanted was us to help her curtail her alcohol consumption and we felt we could not do this. So here she was again seeking our help. This time we decided to use the famous, “not yet technique.”
When we visited I asked he some questions, had alcohol ever affected her work? She gave a hesitant answer so Arthur pipes in, “Not Yet.” Had it affected he marriage, “Not Yet.” had it affected home life, (we new it had) she again said, “No.” Again Arthur quipped, “Not yet.” So the discussion went on. Had she been in trouble with the police? Before she answered I heard the now repetitive, “Not yet.”
“Your life is so full of “not yets” said Arthur. “But all those will day soon become nows because that is the way with those who have no control. Look at what is happening to you.”
By this stage even I was beginning to feel sorry for Mary. I was sure she was wishing she had never invited us in. I noticed an empty vase on the dresser. I told her I was leaving but would be back in five minutes. I nipped down the road to the church. I collected a large bunch of flowers and returned. I took the vase and arranged the flowers in it. They looked beautiful even in the midst of all the disarray. I placed them on one side of the dresser. On the other I arranged the wine bottles, a fair number of them, with the corkscrew. It would have made a fair still life painting.
I said to her, “The flowers are there to remind you that in all of this you are not alone. We care for you and are here for you. The bottles remind you of your first love. When you look over there ask yourself what you would really rather have.” When we left the tears were running down the cheeks of Mary.
It was not the last time she slipped off the wagon but it was the beginning of the way back. A year or so later I heard her retell the story of that day to an assembled audience of over 100 people. She was looking so well and sounding so confident. The tears were running down my cheeks.
A still life had saved the day.
This blog is linked to my other blog where I talk about the artwork used:-The Cornflowers