Friday, December 2, 2016

Gentle Actions: Big Imprints

Blog by Ana Gonzalez
As a hopeless idealist I can’t help it: I want Big Change RIGHT NOW!

After reading my daily news feeds, I feel saddened. My heart weights heavy in the updates about Syria, the disrespect for mother earth, undignified poverty, discrimination towards migrants, native Americans, people of color, LGBT, etc.  Some days, I wish I had a magic wand that with a tap would turn hate into compassion; create a desire for a curious understanding.  My idealist magic wand would heal pain, bring peace, end injustice, and fill all with joy.  Let’s not forget, HUGS FOR EVERYONE!  Then reality hits me. I don’t have an idealist magic wand.  I am only one of 7 billion human beings living on Earth.  Reality reminds me that BIG CHANGE is too overwhelmingly colossal for me to embrace. 
Guests to exhibit and artists Sr. Elizabeth Slenker, OP
(Bottom row, third from the right)

While the facts provided by reality create in yours truly an overwhelming anxiety, in prayer a gentle whisper gives me hope!  The peaceful insight evolves to a tender reminder that is offered during the season of advent. The time of Advent invites us to wait for the promise of light while surrounded by shorter, colder and darker days.  The season of expectancy is unassuming in the reassurance of a certain hope offered by Jesus.  During advent I am reminded to the gentle actions that created monumental changes; the acceptance by Mother Mary, the commitment by Joseph, the serene and unpretentious setting for the birth of Jesus.  Advent invites me to fight my desire to make big change, and encourages me to embrace gentle actions. The season also inspires me to find inspiration in the unexpected, and last week my world was motivated by an unforeseen gentle action. 

Last week, Sister Elizabeth Slenker, OP, invited us to a gallery opening showcasing her artwork.  The invitation was surprising to me, as I was not aware that Sister was an artist.  Through Sister’s very tranquil approach, I have to come to know a brilliant baker, a powerful woman that masterfully manages power tools, a creatively crafty preservationist and now a talented painter.

The exhibit opened at The Good Shepherd Gallery in Ferguson, Missouri.  The location of the gallery is at the heart of a community that is still scared by the unrest of 2014. In a very peaceful manner the Good Shepherd Gallery provides a space for peace and understanding.  The creative center features art that speaks to God’s Shepherd values of mercy, reconciliation, individual worth and zeal.  In a community that was torn by racism and segregation, the Good Shepherds gallery is a peaceful center that welcomes exhibits from individual artists and community-based groups as a way to counteract hate and fear. The exhibit opening by Sister Elizabeth was significant, as it help celebrate the first anniversary of the establishment.

While experiencing the artwork at the sublime center, I found a moving experience. In the middle of a community that was known for injustice and discord, Sister Elizabeth was exhibiting gentle artwork that celebrated creation. Through the use of watercolors, the artist captured the unassuming beauty of creation in a harmonious manner.  The exhibit became a prayerful experience and an invitation to seek harmony and peace! The gallery and the exhibit are examples of my personal Advent invitation to embrace gentle actions. The small gestures create a powerful invitation for harmony and peace. 

The exhibit, gallery and season of Advent remind me of the well-known quote by Mahatma Gandi, “be the change you want to see in the world.” While I am only one woman in a large world, I can be what I wish for the world.  In a gentle manner my small actions can be of inspiration and empower a positive change. I will work at embracing the small gentle actions and not be tempted to desire a magic wand that will fix the big problems.  I am reminded to trust in God and the certain hope provided by Jesus.

As I conclude, I want to wish you a peaceful and insightful Advent.  May you be surrounded by gentle actions that positively mark your life! 

* For more information about Shepherding Images Studio & Good Shepherd Gallery or Sister Elizabeth's exhibit please visit


  1. May we continue to hear the "gentle whispers in our lives" so that we can “be the change so needed in our world". So grateful for your beautiful reflection, Ana, and know that we are holding all of you in heart and prayer during this Season of anticipation!
    Michelle and Chris

  2. Blessings, hugs, and thanks to you, Ana, for your insightful blog--a good reminder to all of us to be what we want the future to be, and do the gentle actions for which we are gifted and empowered--then we ARE transforming our world, moment by moment, bit by bit.

  3. Preaching through art touches me at the level of my heart - which causes it to expand with each spark of inspiration.
    Gracias para su pensamientos.
    Un abrazo fuerte
    Su hermana June