Well, it has now been about 3 months since I began SOUL (Stones of Uplifting Light).
In that time, I have sent out about 18+ stones in all directions. Due to other work obligations, I have been lightly advertising my SOUL mission and picking up people here and there who are in a bad way. I’ve also been wrestling with how to word my mission so as not to offend or hurt people’s feelings. Since AI paint alone and I do want every stone I deliver to be my best possible work of art, I do have to narrow down the people for whom I can deliver stones. Right now, I’ve had no problems delivering but I can see a time where a triage of sorts will be needed and I have to reserve the right to decide who gets what at the risk of hurting someone’s feelings which was never my plan nor intent.
I’ve also had to wrestle with the language I use to describe my mission. For lack of a better term, since I really can’t solve the terminal condition of the people for whom I paint, I was hoping to “brighten” just a minute of their day because I have no power to do anything more. In discussions with friends and my wife, they felt that the term of simply “brightening” one’s day in the most difficult of times could be considered flippant – which again is not, and never was, my intent.
Here I sit in front of my keyboard struggling with words that comfort, don’t offend, and explain my mission – so, please accept my “work in progress”. Someday, I’ll figure it all out. Meanwhile, I will continue to paint.
The feedback I have been getting from those kind people who arrange rocks for their struggling friends has been most rewarding and a bit “emotionally wringing” for me. So far, I’ve heard of a man who received a stone from me and held it for the final two days of his life. His friends told me that they thought the stone brought him such comfort that he was able to pass. At the service they held for him, next to his urn, they placed the stone. I’ve found that these stones, because they have significant meaning to some of their recipients, are kept by the family as a bright memento, during a dark time. I’ve also heard that some stones go with the person to their final resting place. (This is bit “deep” for me and makes it hard for me to type.) I jumped into SOUL with both feet and not really knowing what would happen. I’ll be staying here for a long time, God willing.
Below is a collage of several of the stones I’ve painted. Not all are present, but you can get an idea as to what brought different people comfort in their lives. Please note, that I no longer offer stones with sports star/logo imagery due to potential copyright conflicts. SOUL Stones are free to recipients. No charge to family or friends. Donations to Into The Brush (501 (c)(3) non-profit organization) are cherished but not required for a SOUL stone to be sent to a friend or loved one facing a terminal illness struggle.
For those interested in getting stones for others, please find out something that gave them comfort in their past. A favorite place, an activity, etc.