Monday 31 October 2016

Grace in a Painting

"This is what I do." (Lisa Allison)

As most of you know, seven years ago my sister Lisa suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm followed by a massive stroke at the tender age of 45.  She now lives in a nursing home.  Despite the odds, Lisa has proven the doctors wrong over and over again by regaining abilities they said she would never regain (see "Painting a Portrait of Stroke Recovery" ( - page 12). One of those abilities is painting.  Before the stroke, Lisa was a graphic artist.

Lisa Allison's painting circa 2016 courtesy Laurie Candela.

Lisa phoned me yesterday.  It was a timely phone call.  I mentioned that I have been blogging about the famous American artist Norman Rockwell.  I knew she would be very familiar with the name, but other than that, I wasn't sure what she would remember about his work.  One by one, I went over the paintings I had chosen.  One by one, Lisa pointed out details that only an art connoisseur would know.

Lisa remembered the ever popular Saying Grace.  She recalled Shuffleton's Barbershop.  But when I came to Before the Shot, she started to warm up.  "That's the one with the giant syringe," she explained.  I mentioned Choir Boy Combing Hair at Easter and Lisa pointed out:  "The boy's mouth was open as he looked at himself in the mirror."  When I brought up Walking to Church, Lisa said:  "Yes, they all have Bibles tucked under their arms."  I was thoroughly impressed when she perked up at the mention of Marriage License, saying:  "The bride has a bright yellow dress on."  When I said the title Art Critic, Lisa said:  "Yes, he's the one with the large palette of paints in his hand."


 I started this month's blog topic with the post "It's All in the Details". The details Lisa remembered seven and a half years after the stroke are quite remarkable, considering they come from a woman who sat in a coma for six weeks.  There was a time when the doctor would pound on her chest, just looking for any response like the flickering of an eyelid or the twitching of a toe.  Now she has lengthy, stimulating conversations about art.  When I pointed out my amazement, Lisa's response was simply:  "This is what I do."


I am studying Max Lucado's Grace:  More Than We Deserve; Greater Than We Imagine in Bible Study this year.  Seven and a half years ago I never could have imagined my recent phone conversation with my sister, Lisa.  God's grace comes in many forms:  a yellow dress, a boy's expression of surprise, a palette of paints.  It's grace in a painting.  God's grace.


Lisa Allison's painting circa 2016 courtesy Laurie Candela.

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