I stood there, eyes wide open, watching Christ being painted in front of me in bold bright colors on canvas of black, paint being splashed like blood cut loose from a whip, all the while the lyrics “we will never be the same” by Dave Crowder playing over and over. I could feel it inside me…this love pulsing. It was palpable. At this moment…it was all I needed. I was reminded that it is truly all I ever need.
That was over a week ago at the annual HEAL! Gala, a local charity who raises money to enrich the lives of persons with autism in our community through communication and programming where this painting of Christ sold for thousands of dollars for the cause.
Prior to the live painting of Christ, I had witnessed my beautiful daughter’s art (self-titled, “Rays of Hope”) being auctioned. More than the auction itself, I was intently focused on her as she sat with a long-time caregiver and friend. She was fighting her autism. Trapped in a body that often does not cooperate with her mind, will and emotions…she sat glued to a seat just outside the main ballroom with the door propped open. Each time I attempted to cajole her into the room she resolutely shook her head no.
Lord, this was her moment. This was her time to shine. Would she be able to do it? Would she conquer autism’s death like grip on her sensory and motor systems and be able to bathe at this moment? The moment she so longed for because, as she typed, to be a “real artist is to sell art.”
I had one foot in the room and one out and she forcedly shot out of the chair and went straight in front of the canvas and stood there as the bidding finished. She radiated beauty yet her facial expression did not tell the story of how she was truly feeling. The next time I picked her up at her group home and we were driving home, I asked her who the “famous” local artist was. She had the most infectious smile on her face and she erupted in laughter.
Oh, autism…where is your sting? Each time Gentry conquers autism’s grip on her body I remind her she is forming new neural pathways and, in doing so, she is causing the strength of the old ones to diminish. When I see what she goes through daily to gain this type of control I am humbled. I have no reason to complain – ever. She and her peers are my true inspiration. They bring me JOY and HOPE. They are the WHY behind Peace of Heart Community.