Monday, July 13, 2009



Not long after we joined our new parish, there was an evening of prayer and conversion talks. When we entered the parish hall, there was a large display of paintings in the front of the room. We took seats in the back, (it is my habit to always sit as close to an exit as possible, should the panic rise within me), and listened as one by one people stood to talk about their struggles...their faith...and...their struggles...with...their faith.

At one point, a pretty blonde woman in a wheelchair began to speak. A terrible skiing accident many years earlier had left her quadriplegic and despairing. She spoke about her trials...her road to recovery after the accident...and, how she came to be an artist.


This remarkable woman was Sylvia Geoghegan. The life story she told that evening was an a new way of living...of being...for all of us gathered in that room...for me.

Sylvia spoke about learning new ways...about making deals with herself to go outside the go to the store...even though she disliked the way people stared at her. Though mine was a different problem, her fears and how she had overcome them struck a chord deep inside me!

After the talks were over, I went to the display of paintings. One in particular caught my eye. I was just staring at it...feeling the words gently caress the pain...the constant my own heart...when Sylvia came over to me. She told me the words on the painting were what had saved her...become her motto for life...

"And the day came when to remain tight as a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

I told Sylvia that those words touched me right to my very soul.

I asked how much the painting cost.

When she told me the price, I knew we could never afford husband had only been back to work a short time and I was back to just medical billing jobs since the short term high paying contract had ended. Even as these thoughts were running through my mind, Sylvia...this incredible woman, who had never laid eyes on me before in her life...said: "Here take can pay me twenty-five dollars a month, until it's paid for."

I couldn't believe what was happening!

That night, I wrote her a check for twenty-five dollars, and brought my treasure home.

Each month, I faithfully made my payment to this incredible woman who gifted me with so much more than a pretty painting...she gave me hope, faith, and the way to get my life back.

To this day, that painting (along with a smaller one of an angel I had purchased later) hangs right by my front door...a constant inspiration...reminder...every time I leave the house.

Sadly, Sylvia Geoghegan passed from our lives...tragically and accidentally...much too soon on November 7, 1999...yet, her enthusiasm...her love...her forever in those who were blessed to have been touched by her indomitable spirit!

So, the questions are these:

What has YOU painfully twisted..."tight as a bud"

What risk must YOU blossom?

To read more about the remarkable Sylvia Geoghegan visit:


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