VivianAs far as Vivian’s concerned she’s feeling like a shining star…or two…or twenty-eight. She’s weeks away from moving to transition housing and then graduating. As she says, “I feel like my life is full of light. I feel like a shinning star!” Well, indeed she is. Her prayer flag is a wonderfully composed piece of graphic art that delighted both my art partner Lee and me. When I complimented her on the excellence of her composition her response was, “Finally! I did it!!” There’s nothing like finishing with in a blaze of starry glory. Life is good.

Christine observed that she’s painting with pastel colors now, pinks and lavenders infused with white, rather than the drab and dark browns she’d used before. She no longer feels like a jailbird, but someone with the freedom to fly because of the love and light that’s flooded her life since she’s entered the Lighthouse, a fifteen-month, faith-based residential treatment program for women recovering from substance abuse. Olivia knows that the Word of God is her invincible protector, and that her protection grows day by day as she studies scripture. Angelica didn’t like part of what she’d painted last week. Rather than coming to me to say it was ruined and could she have another prayer flag, she simply painted out what she didn’t like, bordering it in gold. I commented to her how unusual it was for someone so new to the program to begin repurposing an art piece considered a failure rather than discard it. Because those impacted by substance abuse are inclined to consider themselves failures and frequently give up when things get tough, I affirmed her tenacity and willingness to redeem failure as essential qualities necessary for recovery. Big smile. “Well then, I’m gonna title my prayer flag Recovery.” Life becoming good.  

Sarah’s prayer, empowered by the Spirit, is to rebuild, move forward, and for great energy and success. Chanel’s dramatic cross surrounded by a silvery aura fading into a black field with blue stars speaks of her journey from darkness to light just as Jennifer’s flag says it with succinct beauty… “Joy resides in the heart.” Maria’s “Release” is an out pouring of love that floods from her heart now that her recovery is well under way. She’s the one who rushes into the room exuberantly embracing me with “mia amiga” because she’s so happy to be making art that marks the milestones of her progress. Yup. Life is good, very good. 

NicoleBut sometimes life is sad and happy all in the same moment at the Lighthouse. That’s especially so for me when the women nearing graduation transition to another living setting and I no longer see them during the weekly art workshops. Such an accomplishment for them! Such a mixture of delight and loss for me. I am especially bummed that Nicole will be graduating while I’m out of town. She was my jewelry making buddy in arms when we were preparing for the Lighthouse fashion show last fall. And I always knew I could count on her to help the visiting art teacher negotiate the ins and outs of the art cabinet and class when I wasn’t there. But I am so happy that Nicole has embraced a life of recovery…and has recovered her life. It is surely fitting then that her prayer flag is entitled “Life.” While I won’t be there for the celebration, nevertheless, I’ll lift a soft drink in her honor wishing her l’chaim – to life!

If you were to celebrate someone with the toast l’chaim – to life, who would it be? What hurdles have they overcome? What character qualities have they developed that you admire? In what ways have you embraced life that you’d like to celebrate? What would your prayer flag look like?

The Lighthouse ladies love your comments!



2 comments to Life

  • so well done
    may they all fly with coloured wings

    have you told them about SARK
    am rereading her TRANSFORMATION SOUP
    an inspirational book indeed

  • Hey Lynne,
    Thanks for all the good work you do to support, inspire and encourage God’s “shining stars” at the Light House.

    My toast goes out to my three adopted kids. They all started in a pretty rough spot but they continue to persevere and to thrive. Cannot tell you how blessed I am to see them thrive knowing where they began.


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