Member Musing: Iris Shur

Member Musings features the reflections and thoughts of an NPC member. 

Iris ShurSunshine is More than Beams of Light

Summer in Florida is a time when you tackle those projects that you were much too busy to do in “season.” One of them, for me, is cleaning up my desk. So I took a deep breath the other day and emptied out a file divider that sits on top of my desk. One of the folders is more than five times as big as the others. It’s yellow and I call it my “Sunshine Folder.”

Every time I get something that makes me feel good about myself, I stick it in the Sunshine Folder. It’s been receiving happy communications for ten years now and I have never gone back and looked at it. The idea was that if I was feeling really unhappy with myself, I would open that folder and relive some good times.

I guess it says something about me that I have never felt the need, in ten years, to open the Sunshine Folder. The only reason I did so today was to write this piece. It was an amazing journey. You’re probably wondering what kinds of things are inside.

Many years ago I entered a contest sponsored by a local newspaper pleading my case for a makeover. I won. They sent me to a beauty salon where I got a new hairdo, long nails, serious makeup and voila, movie star! My picture and a story were in that newspaper, and that article is in my Sunshine Folder. Unfortunately, I had nowhere special to go that day after the makeover, just to an evening lecture. But when I walked into the room all heads turned. Then I had to take off the makeup that night and my hair got all crushed sleeping on it and the fake nails started breaking off. The photo is all I have left.

There’s a certificate when I won my very first (and last) mahjong tournament. Of course, it was just among the beginners group but hey, I was ecstatic. 

In my acting days at a local theater, I was in a production with many women. The reviewer singled me out in the newspaper in a very favorable way. Letters from friends who saw the play and loved me in my role are clipped to the review. What good memories.

When I was sick once, and I don’t remember with what or when, my husband kept a list of several pages titled “people who called, wrote or visited Iris.” It’s interesting to see who called, wrote or visited me. Some of them are now gone from my life in one way or another but some are still around.

There is a very poignant letter in the folder from a family member apologizing for bad behavior. I never called her on her behavior but apparently she was well aware. The note was a real surprise and very welcome.

One of the cards in my file says, “I’m so glad we met.” That was eight years ago and we continue to be close friends. But there are cards welcoming my friendship from people who are no longer in contact with me!

It was very rewarding to read the many emails and cards I received over the two years I was president of a chapter of a national organization. Let me tell you, for every positive note I received, as in any organization, I received another criticizing me or admonishing me for some infraction. Of course, I didn’t save the bad ones. I really needed the encouragement of my champions to help me get through the negative feelings. Please remember this and send good vibes to the leadership of your group.

I only went through a little bit of my Sunshine Folder, wanting to save it for that day I really need it. Maybe you can start your own. Be sure to send me a note thanking me for the idea so I can put it in the yellow folder!

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