Thursday, August 12, 2010


I like to think about the word courage (although I don't always possess it.) The phrase I prefer is "action from the heart." Although this is probably a stretch, encouragement, to me, is wrapping someone in courage.

The two beautiful women in this picture, grandmother and granddaughter, are both named Maria. The younger of the two comes to my art classes and needs no encouragement. Her creativity is imbued with confidence. She was very late for her first class because her grandmother couldn't find the Art Center. I had a hard time reassuring her that it was okay. Maria could catch up easily.

In the course of our brief conversation, I learned that the older Maria was a Cuban refugee. The struggle to find a home had taken her and her husband to four continents. I was torn between my students who needed my attention, and Maria's story which came pouring forth from deep within her. The students won, but not before I encouraged the older Maria to write down her incredible tale. "A page at a time," I said when she started to demur. The next week I handed her a blank notebook and more encouragement. I'm hoping the pump was primed.

I may have given art lessons, a notebook and encouragement, but I recieved much more from the two Marias.

Ann Henkel, OP
Mobile, AL

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