As a result of a long chain of events in which I was fighting for something else, I met a man who told me the story of his daughter during a meeting. It was a heartbreaking story of a beautiful woman and mother who in the middle of what should have been her life, contracted a terminal illness. The man I met told me of her last request while healthy enough to do it was to take a Boundary Waters canoe camping trip with her kids. Her dad put it together and they had a wonderful trip.
One day while I was painting a rock for general inventory, my thoughts wandered to that woman and her canoe trip. The scene I was painting was one of my favorites – a red canoe beached with a Duluth pack and paddles next to it. I came up with the idea to send this woman the painting as a handmade, fine-art memento of her experience hopefully for therapeutic means. I could not solve her problem, but I felt compelled to try to help her if only in some tiny way.
Through a bit of wrangling and phone calls, I got the rock to the woman whom I’ve neither met nor spoken to, and she and her family appreciated it greatly as was told to me by an intermediary. That’s when I got my idea of doing this for other strangers who may be in need of a therapeutic lift while facing essentially, the end. I tried to put myself in their shoes and decided that I would really think receiving a little piece of fine art depicting a past joyous event would be uplifting at least for a moment. Plus, I thought it would be encouraging to the recipient as someone who they don’t know reached out to care about them in a little way.
That is how Stones Of Uplifting Light came to be.
Since the first recipient, I have now shipped shipped out about 20 stones in the past three months. Since I don’t have direct contact with SOUL recipients I have to put my trust in faith that they are appreciated. On occasion, an intermediary who arranged the stone by telling me about the individual and what I should paint will let me know some details about the delivery.
One of the more moving stories for me was of a man who received a stone and held it for the final two days of his time on earth. They thought the stone may have helped him pass and end his suffering. Then, at his funeral service, the stone was displayed next to his remains for those attending to view a time of joy in that man’s life.
Another man was making arrangements for his stone to join him when he passed.
Generous people have been sending in donations to help fund my paint, mailing and some expenses. It has been very gratifying that so many others would like to participate in my newfound mission. Every stone that gets sent has a small group of people -strangers really- who want to contribute to some individual who is not doing too well. Nobody really knows anybody else, but we are all there together. I like that. I think it lends reinforcement to the word “humanity”. Somebody out there cares and it is comforting to know that. My mission is to have a stranger help a stranger through a little piece of fine art.
Donations for SOUL can be made here. SOUL is a part of Into The Brush which provides art education for wilderness rediscovery. Into The Brush is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit of which SOUL is a part.
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