When I am not painting or speaking, I am often online advocating through this blog, facebook or twitter. I painted so much in the past month I am very behind on this aspect of advocacy. Last week I wrote quite a bit, embedding several links within my posts. I love links. They not only inform others fully of your sources, they are an amazing breadcrumb trail of thought.
But broken links make me sad. Whether it is a website that is down or an author who has removed a post, I feel a sad loss when a link ends in silence. I love to see an unbroken chain of thought within community and recently I saw that at Linkage, an organization that focuses and services within the senior community.
On April 5th, 2012 I painted and spoke in Columbus, Ohio at the Linkage Annual meeting. CEO Scott Collins was an amazing speaker who highlighted the work of the past year as well as the future goals of the organization. Sprinkled throughout the entire day were presentations focusing on members nominated for awards. That was pretty amazing. I have attended a great deal of meetings where winners received presentations, but nominees only get mentions. It was great to see them both.
During all of this I painted, whilst Debbie Hounshell, Director of Communications of Linkage, helped me with any questions I had. The morning continued and we heard from Sue Viox, Marketing Director at Linkage and Jan Montague, a leader in whole person wellness. I painted during all of these presentations “The Linkage Pinwheel.”
In this painting, there is an older grandfatherly man holding a young boy. The man and the boy are holding a pinwheel in hand as it spools off the colors of the Linkage logo. Are these two figures two separate people? Is the same person at different stages in one life? If we view every patient as the beautiful child they are within, how would that change their perception in the world of medicine? I often speak to pediatric patients who make the leap into adult care and find themselves lost as they communication is poor. Listening to amazing work of the Linkage members it seemed as though many were treating people with great dignity while embracing every nuance of the path of a life.
I spoke in the early after noon. And used one of my favorite quotes to begin my presentation. “Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist-a master-and that is what Auguste Rodin was- can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is...and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be...” Robert A Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
After my presentation Patrick Mead, a pastor and amazing speaker, led the audience on a winding path of thought. His presentation was filled with equal measure laughter and tears. I painted “Your choice: Darkness or Light”
Patrick’s speech led us on a journey. He used his past as an eloquent example of making brave and often scary choices to support the light. In this picture we see two women in a gray blue sky. One woman is smiling and one woman is solemn. They walk in the path of our lives. Much of our life is filled with gray decisions, but sometimes we are given choices to defend the good or to succumb to darkness. In health professions these choices are faced in many ways on many days. It is your choice and often it is a very scary one.
That was my day at Linkage. I am glad I had a chance to attend and add another link to our amazing chain of advocacy. There are wonderful and kind people there. The CEO Scott Collins gave me one of the greatest compliments you can receive as a speaker. When he came to the podium to thank me after my presentation, Scott’s eyes were bright and his voice was the coarse timbre of a man holding back tears. He began to speak around his voice and finally said: “I did not expect to cry today.”
Thank you Scott. It is leaders like you that will change our world, as you walk through a veil of tears towards the path of light.