by Mary Wright Baylor
Entitled, “Love, Light, Life,” this gorgeous image was painted for me by a young woman I was privileged to know in my work as a pastoral care nurse. It adorned the cover of a tender note she wrote in the midst of a terrible storm of depression that she suffered for twenty years. Yes, TWENTY years. No remission at all for 2-0 years. Beautiful, witty, bright, inquisitive, and faithful, she was so incapacitated that she could not work. She was hospitalized 14 times including one stay in cardiac intensive care due to complications of a new drug. Multiple rounds of electroshock therapy did little for her other than to make her foggy and forgetful, but she was willing to try anything. Though often suicidal, somehow she always hung on. Her faith (and her extraordinary psychiatrist) kept her alive in the long dark tunnel of this merciless mental illness.
Desperate for any relief and yet hopeful for a life worth living, she sought out new treatments across the country. Eventually, she was eligible for an experimental clinical trial involving brain surgery for deep brain stimulation at a medical research center halfway across the country. Despite the risks without guarantee of any improvement, she felt it was her only option. As expected, the surgery was arduous; she emerged in the recovery room with a shaved head, huge incision, and throbbing headache. But almost immediately, she could tell a difference. As her hair grew back, So did her hopes. She began to feel her spirits lifting. As the incision healed, she knew that the depression was finally in remission. Love, Light, Life.
Miraculously, now a number of years since her surgery, she has continued to improve. In her words, “I am a Resurrection story.” She profoundly believes that the grace of God delivered her to this new dawn. She works full time, travels and continues with her artwork. Indeed, her colorful image above was prophetic that someday, she would emerge from her dark tunnel. Love, Light, and Life awaited her.
Permission granted by the artist to share her work and her story.
Using color (pens, markers, crayons, or paints) illustrate your own interpretation of “Love, Light, and Life” in your life.