A new definition of courage

We must take on our existence as broadly as we possibly can; everything, even the unheard of, must be possible in it. This, underneath all, is the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most inexplicable.” Rainer Maria Rilke

I met with my brother, Bob, yesterday to deliver clothing to a half-way house that he has been a supporter of for years. I was originally going to meet with him on November 22nd, but a few days ago, we decided to move the date up. My mother and I had done a lot of shopping for these clothes with the only parameters being to purchase nice clothing for men, women and children under 5. We pretty much stuck to these guidelines except for one item. As my mother and I made our way through the Salvation Army thrift store, I spotted a new (with tags) Gymboree jean jacket, size 10, for $12.00 that was 1/2 off that day, so we decided to buy it.

Bob and I arrived at the half way house and were greeted by a wonderful woman who very happily took the clothing that was on hangers and I began to unpack a large container that I wanted to keep. Within a couple of minutes, I noticed a young girl had come out to see what we were up to. I said hi to her but she didn’t say a word so I continued to unpack the box. Suddenly the girl said, “Today is my birthday” and I said, “Happy birthday! How old are you?” and she said, “Ten”.

In that bag, was a size 10 new girls, jean jacket that I had also put in a gift box (the only item that I had boxed up). I handed her the box and said, “This is for you”. She opened it, took out the jacket, and ran down the hall to room where she and her mother were staying. Then she ran back and said “Thank you! Her mother came out with a smile and thanked us too. The little girl took off the jacket she was wearing and put the new one on. The new jean jacket had little red bows over the pockets and she was wearing red pants.

As Bob and I drove away we just looked at each other, shook our heads, and smiled at the wonder of what we just been a part of: synchronicity, the inexplicable, Grace.

my newest painting needs a name
my newest painting needs a name…..I want to paint the name of an actual book on the book in this painting. The theme of this painting to me feels like the call to adventure. The little mouse looks somewhat apprehensive like he/she is thinking, “Should I do this?” but his/her little hand is holding on and she/he is about to fly. If you have a suggestion (the title of a book) I’d love to hear it!

Hello everyone and thank you so much for your wonderful suggestions! You’ve given me a number of great ideas for future paintings as well. I decided on “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. I needed to paint a fatter book first but that was the easy part. The lettering was much more of a challenge, but the impression of the title is there.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

29 thoughts on “A new definition of courage”

  1. What a truly beautiful thing you and Bob experienced Mary. There is no logical explanation for what happened and how it happened ~ perhaps just the WHY. You were meant to be there at that very moment with that very gift. Ah, the unexplained wonders of the universe. God bless you for your thoughtfulness and may we always be mindful of the wants and needs of others ❤️
    Sending love and hugs…

  2. A moment of magic and grace..confirms your choice with your mother to make the purchase and brings incredible joy to someone else…When I have these serendipitous moments, my friend and I say we just had a “slice of Universe pie”.

    Amazing painting, Mary..book title could be “Flying Lessons”… love every single detail. Thanks for reminding us to listen and trust♡

  3. Profiles in Courage came to mind. Mary, I LOVE when you share these syncronicity moments, I think about Bernadette often.

  4. how about the “Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. . . .can’t wait to give my daughter your beautiful artwork with Helen Keller’s words! have a beautiful day. . . xo veronica

  5. How about True North? This is a book by Jill Ker Conway that was the follow on to her first book The Road from Coorain. She is from the Australian countryside and eventually became a Harvard grad and the president of Smith College. Wonderful, inspiring memoir.

    In looking up the definition of True North I also found:

    “Finding true north is accurate for navigation.

    Hence the metaphor. In life’s journey we are often uncertain where we stand, where we are going and what is the right path for us personally. Knowing our true north would enable us to follow the right path.”

    Thanks as always Mary.


  6. Dear Mary, I loved your sharing and how God used you and your mom to spread his blessings! I think it is a reminder to all of us to be open to what God has for us and how through us he can bless us and others! Amazing painting! I love the title someone already mentioned Flying Lessons or it could be Around the World in Eighty Days. Blessings to you and your family! Joan

  7. I love that you and your brother bought and gave to such a worthy cause and the little girl benefited from your unselfish act of kindness. She will always remember that birthday I bet. You have such a good choice of titles to choose from. I love your painting Mary.

  8. I like one of the other comments as the book title: “A moment of magic and grace”.
    Thank you, Mary, for the touching post.

  9. Mary I love the telling of your stories. And the thought that goes into your days… The Rilke quote so resonates …

    Since you occasionally do quote from Rilke ( amongst other great authors) . My suggestion for the title : ” The Best of Rilke” or “The Book of Images” ( Rilke) . The many other suggestions are all so good too…

    It’s such an adventure to explore the world of thought found in books. (I especially love the classic literature , poetry and quotes from within ).. And I notice the book you painted here looks like an old fashioned , small leather bound poetry book. The element of whimsy you bring to your paintings is a wonderful addition, as it takes imagination and a willingness to be born away to process the thoughts that are held inside those pages.

  10. The Mystical Backpacker: How to Discover Your Destiny in the Modern World by Hannah Papp

    lovely story of being guided!

  11. Hi Mary!

    There is a wonderful little book I bought years ago – one I’ve given out numerous times and tend to reread any time I need uplifting and a reminder – that is called “As You Wish”. It was written by two women entrepreneurs and is all about synchronicity and the Law of Attraction. You would love it!

    Here is the link to find it: h ttps://lifesuccess.infusionsoft.com/app/storeFront/showProductDetail?productId=51

    Anyway, that’s my thought about the title of your book in the painting! Will talk with you soon!

    Hugs – Wendy

  12. “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London – popped into my mind .
    and I love your story of a moment of grace and synchronicity.
    I have had a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke on my fridge in whatever home I have been in for the last 28 years. It is not the same poem, but same poet – “Near enough is good enough” my friend from Cork, Ireland likes to say.

    It would be Shure Fine to run into you in town some synchronistic moment, neighbor, Mary.
    Hug, Mary Rita.

  13. Oh, Mary, what a lovely post. And what wonderful suggestions from the flock. We’ve just returned from a 2-day trip hiking in the Shenandoah Mountains in the most beautiful weather imaginable. I hope I appreciate that gift as much as the young girl appreciated her jacket (and it was hers, wasn’t it). Thank you as usually for warming my heart.

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