God art Work…planting spiritual seeds (foundation)

I must share that I struggled with my story—or should I say stories. This morning about 6:00 a.m., my introduction became clear and fell into place. My head and heart became balanced, inner peace. My contemplative prayer practices “kicked in” so to speak.

“Come and Find the quiet Center”, page 2128 sums up much that needs to be said. Feel free to read the verses. A suggestion is that you prepare your story. If not for everyone then just for yourself. With your permission I’ll begin…

Good morning, I’m Susan. As a transplanted Ohio Methodist, I was born in East Liverpool--- a town under twenty thousand residents. This river town supported a Methodist Church every few city blocks, several more churches built on our steep hillsides, and a few located in rural areas---one of which included a prayer meeting camp. This abundance of Methodists led me to believe everyone, everywhere was Methodist. Church provided Sunday School classes for all ages---beginning at 9:30 a.m. At 10:40 our orchestra members began tuning violin strings signaling the start of church. Service lasted until 12:00.

The following is part of my Sunday ritual: my father taught the Mens’ Westlian Class every Sunday, my mom led the Ladies Altar Guild in the care, display and preparation of altar cloth, my aunt introduced Biblical characters to a young beginner’s class. Her stories came to life through hand crafted, flannel graph felt figures, my grandfather regarded Sabbath as Holy, tithed and never allowed money to pass through hands on Sunday, this included the purchase of a newspaper.

Grandfather said grace, ending with “and bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies, A-Men. As his dementia progressed GRACE extended longer and longer, as well as, became more detailed. What I witnessed was my Dad’s caring, respectful approach, waiting for the best time to intervene, and then gently guiding Grandfather to A-MEN.

My childhood Sundays, Grandfather’s GRACE at meals, Aunt Ariel’s art for children, and Dad’s intuitive approach to his father’s needs left an indelible impression on me as a young person. Spiritual seeds were planted!

FAST FORWARD if you will to the growing of spiritual seeds, pathways for me to follow and share God’s gift to me, my art talent. I listened to His calling by teaching art to all ages--public and private schools. Today my art making is a means of communication and a form of inner peace for me. My latest series entitled “Bridging” illustrates transitions in my life. As artists, my husband and I work together; I followed the spiritual path to find both.

God’s gift and calling for me to work with the elderly dementia residents, and to assist families when needed. My Grandfathers struggle… and later Mother’s struggle with Dementia pushed me in the direction of education to learn more about this disease. As a Life Enrichment Coordinator of memory cottage residents, I answered God’s calling. I found my greatest strengths to be comforting both family and resident during their late stages of Dementia. I place the following experiences close to my heart:

Ms. L, a cottage resident and one of 15 siblings, of whom many were nuns or brothers, was prepared by all family members to meet the Lord. On one remaining day of my visit we sang “You Are My Sunshine”. At the end of our singing, Ms. L said: “I’m ready for heaven, Suzi, you’re going to miss me.” What a joyful soul and blessing to me.

For Ms. L., a girl not accepted as a candidate for convent life (life’s wish), she demonstrated Godliness.

Edie and Barb, mother and daughter, demonstrated great support for one another. Edie listened to band music… while listening to music, saw her husband’s hand reach out to join her for a “dance with him in heaven.” What a wonderful mother-daughter relationship. To this day Barb and I are life-long friends.

At my mother’s death, age 98, I used God’s gift of strength. My mom, a widow 40 years plus, and myself an only child, worked at filling a large void in her life as a widow. It was comfort and inner peace Mom and I felt when her nurse said: “Louise, Susan is and has always been by your side, we give you permission to close your eyes and rest”. And she did. Amen.

Something Linda E. said during Oasis group last Wednesday: “God prepares you for what will take place in the years far ahead…your spiritual growth continues as you age”.

Thank you Susan