By Mike Patrick
Evelyn Bailey became a well respected artist in San Antonio. Her father deserted the family for another woman and left her mother to raise the children. In addition to enduring that difficulty, Evelyn (as well as one of her sisters) contracted polio as a child. Following experimental surgeries, she had a severe limp the rest of her life. In spite of these hardships, she chose to be grateful.
Though Evelyn had no children and her abusive husband left her, she never complained nor showed resentment. Evelyn didn’t attend church, enjoyed smoking, yet she had a joyful spirit, accepting and understanding others.
She became a commercial artist for a San Antonio department store in the day when ads were drawn by hand rather than generated on a computer. With her limp, she climbed to the third floor every day to work. She eventually displayed some of her art in a gallery on the River Walk. She loved painting all the Spanish missions in the area.
Evelyn taught this attitude of gratitude to her nephew who lived next door. She painted his portrait as a 10 year-old boy with his beagle Kit at his side.
Today that nephew is a minister in Abilene who recently shared with his congregation Evelyn’s story and her impact on his life. He is Dr. Phil Christopher, senior pastor of First Baptist Church. He learned from Evelyn that gratitude is a choice.
Mike Patrick retired as Chaplain and Ministry Education Coordinator after 27 years at Hendrick Medical Center.