Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Serendipitous Moment!

I have been away from my blog for several weeks due to an extended trip to Indiana and beyond, which I can't wait to share with you in the next day or so.  Also, last week my youngest sis had extensive back surgery and I was able to stay with her in the hospital all that time.  I will write more about that later as well.

What I do want to share with you today is one of those sweet God ordained experiences that happened last week.

My sis had surgery at the Baton Rouge General in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday of last week.
While she was resting one afternoon, I went down to the cafeteria for a quick bite to eat.  As I rounded a corner, I immediately noticed two ladies painting together on a large canvas.  My attention was captured.
 I was so fascinated as I watched them work together and discuss how a bit more blue on the horizon would create depth.  I agreed.  I introduced myself and the conversation began.  That is what I want to share with you.

Patrice Brewer, left and Patti Bailey, right, are part of a wonderful program at the hospital called
"Arts in Medicine."

This program was begun to bring a variety of creative activities to patients and family members through media such as painting, drawing, arts and crafts, music and more.  They have seen amazing benefits from this therapeutic, artistic expression.

Patti and Patrice are among several artists-in-residence who work one-on-one with patients offering them the opportunity to explore their own creativity while meeting the challenges of diagnosis, treatment and simply being a survivor.
  Each artist has a rolling cart full of all the materials they will need.
The yellow folders hold coloring sheets to meet every age group, gender and/or interest should one not want to actually paint a canvas.  Those who do choose to paint may have their art work displayed on the ceiling in one of the major entrances and inside the cafeteria.
 Coloring books and pencils are made available

The patients can request a bedside visit but often a doctor, nurse or chaplain will refer a patient.

Patrice shared the story of one such patient with me and how God ministered to them through this experience.

They spend most of their time in oncology with chemo patients and in the infusion lab.  But some of their work is done in the burn unit because of the patient's lengthy stay.

They shared one such story from that unit.  Following some of the required reconstructive surgeries of a severely disfigured burn patient, this patient was being allowed to get up; however, she had never seen herself.  Her doctor asked Patrice and Patti to paint something bright and cheery over the mirrors in her hospital room so she couldn't see herself. 

About three months ago, a chaplain asked them to consider visiting this patient.  Patrice shared that she wasn't sure she could do what he asked, but told him she would pray about it.  That weekend in church, she prayed for God's direction and help in knowing how to minister to the woman.  The Lord spoke to her and said, "Look into her eyes.  Look into her eyes and see me!"  She did and they continued to minister to her until she was discharged.

A story that Patti shared is being asked by a nurse to come paint with one of her patients because when she paints she doesn't have anxiety induced seizures.

These are just a few of the many ways the artists in this program provide service and ministry.

If you know anything about college football than you must know about Mike the Tiger, LSU's famed Bengal Tiger Mascot.
 Last year the beloved Mike VI was euthanized after being diagnosed with cancer.  Patrice and Patti were asked to create a commemorative painting of him. I think they certainly did him justice.

There are other aspects of the Arts and Medicine program as well.
The walls of the cafeteria are lined with works of art by various local artists that may be purchased with proceeds going to the Arts and Medicine program.

There is a Friday Lunch Live! concert series that brings local musicians to Baton Rouge General every week and is a part of their program. Employees, physicians and visitors gather each Friday at noon to enjoy 30 to 45 minute performances by pianists, guitarists, singers and other musicians.
 I enjoyed this violin duet one afternoon.
There is also a player piano that never stopped playing the whole time I was there.  It is located between the main entrance and a bank of elevators where everyone passing can hear it.  There is seating nearby for those who just want to sit and enjoy the soothing piano sounds.

James 2:13 says "Mercy triumphs over judgement."

So many of us find it easy to love ourselves and a select few.  What about those who may not love in return?

Patti also shared a personal experience that spoke to my heart.  She said one day one of the chaplains told them about a book he had read entitled "What is Your Altar?"  He told them that their ministry to the patients and families through the expression of art is their "Altar."  Their avenue of service to others.  She went on to explain what this meant to her.  Whether she is encouraging a patient enduring long chemo treatments, a disfigured adult who can't communicate, a child enduring painful procedures, a family member sitting with a dying loved one, or simply holding an umbrella over an elderly lady's head, this is what the Lord has called them to do.  This is their altar.

What is ours?
 Merciful love is the the highest way.  Such a life of excellence and love triumphs over selfishness, lawlessness and judgment.  May God grant us the grace to live the Law of Love in everything we say and everything we do.

Thank you Patti and Patrice and the many other artists and those who supervise this wonderful program.  May God continue to bless you in this endeavor.

"Medicine heals the body, Arts heal the soul."

Linking to:  Amaze Me Monday


  1. What an awesome ministry with so many aspects. I would so have enjoyed something like that when my Dad was hospitalized for so long. Interesting post! Glad your back in blogland!

  2. Welcome back! What an interesting and inspiring thing to do! A wonderful ministry! Just listening to soothing piano music for me would be soo good whenever I might find myself in a hospital like that, but the opportunities for the art is awesome too. Praying your sister has a speedy recovery!

  3. Libby, my first time to read your blog, and I am so blessed! It was nice to meet up with you and Dick in Minden! Can't believe we have known each other for lso many years, way back to my ABA days! Wonderful to see how God is using your gifts and abilities. Looking forward to being a regular reader! Any idea if these painters have prints available of Mike? (LSU fan stuck in Mississippi!)

  4. What a lovely ministry. I hope your sister is well and has a speedy recovery. Sister time is always precious and I know you were happy to be able to be with her.

  5. Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing this.

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