You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘humility’ tag.

“It’s hot this afternoon. Would you like a Popsicle?—I didn’t know if I could offer you one,” I said to the delivery man, after signing the form for my monthly supply of oxygen tanks and supplies for my nebulizer. Tall, muscular, his blue uniform T-shirt rumpled around the collar, his khaki shorts besmirched from the day’s deliveries, I could feel a wide grin behind his mask as he loaded up the empty tanks on his gurney.

“That’s mighty nice,” he said in spirited deep tones that resembled preachers pastoring their flock. “You’re right. It’s been one of those days. I’ll take these empties to the truck, then come back.”

In no time was he again standing on my front porch; his choice: blueberry, received with a hearty “God bless you!” his dark eyes dancing like fireflies.

Although our exchange was brief, I was touched by his cheerfulness, his listening to my limits without my mentioning them, his touching my loneliness with God’s sweetness, and his enlarging my crimped world with meaning. Both us us knew we were loved unconditionally, within the particulars of those few moments: lightness buoyed our hearts and drew our gaze toward the Immense. It only took a Popsicle.

Atop fourteen-thousand-foot Pikes Peak, Colorado, summer, 1893, a Wellesley English professor and her colleagues rested following their climb, helped by a prairie schooner and mules. The magnificent vista compelled one of them, Katharine Lee Bates (1859 – 1929) to scribble “America The Beautiful” upon scrap paper, a four-stanza metered poem, each stanza with eight lines.

Only the first verse is usually sung, with the music later composed in 1910 by church organist Samuel A. Ward and popularized as a patriotic anthem.

The other three stanzas of “America the Beautiful” allude to Bates’s experience with our then, country’s dark side: the failure of the South’s Reconstruction, the evils of the Industrial Revolution, squalid tenements, crime, disease and deaths that could have been prevented, plight of the native Americans, hunger, prejudice toward Irish and Chinese emigrants, political entanglements, and the Spanish America War she covered as a correspondent for the New York Times.

Incisive assessments of our country’s ills led to her demand as a public speaker, and scores studied her published works. Fueling her zeal was her Congregationalist’s faith—how passionately she wished everyone live in harmony. In the second verse, Bates wrote:

God mend thine ev’ry flaw,

Confirm thy soul in self-control,

Thy liberty in law.

Because she lived close to her vision, Katharine Lee Bates relied upon God, the bestower of beauty, to correct the aberrations of the human family, still at war with each other. I share this vision for our country today.

Happy Fourth of July!

Spirit, humility, sense of color, and imagination enflesh animal subjects that emerge from the brushes of Mary Burns, watercolorist and educator. Her canvases breathe the souls of these subjects, intuited from Creator God; an uncanny lightness infuses them and quickens respect within viewers. Such has been the élan guiding her continuous development.

Originally from Itapage, Brazil, Mary studied art at the University of Brazil and taught children, from Kindergarten through the fifth grade. Recently, a serendipitous experience brought her to St. Louis where she continues watercoloring in her basement studio. Slowly, word of her expertise and respect for her renderings are drawing notice. Some have watercolors of their deceased pets, as if still alive, painted from photographs, in their homes.

For those interested in meeting this gifted artist and exploring her work, she will have a showing at The Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, located in Kirkwood, Missouri, through the month of July, Monday through Friday. You can only be enriched.

Some samples of her work that touched me:

Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: