Friday, November 9, 2012

Wendy's Story

Wendy Sanders and Bella

Wendy Sanders' headaches began when she was twelve, lightning bolt headaches that upended her life. She couldn't stay focused at school and could only manage half a day of classes. Stress at school and all the medications and treatments she endured left her exhausted.

One day Wendy's teacher asked the students to create a maze. It required concentration, and she liked the challenge. She began spending her lunch periods in the classroom, drawing mazes.

Too many people live with pain. How do you cope when it's with you every day, all day long? Wendy discovered that while she concentrated on the mazes she was able to find some relief from the pain. In time she was creating not just mazes, but entire scenes, all made up of mazes. Using a black pen, she would outline a scene and use brightly colored felt tip pens to fill in the drawings. She now has notebooks full of mazes that she's done over the years.

Here are some examples of Wendy's work. Although the detail is difficult to discern in the drawings, it stands out clearly in the close-up of the lighthouse and red building. All of Wendy's mazes are made in this style.

It took two years for doctors to determine that the cause of the "terrible, awful, no good, very bad, annoying pain," as Wendy calls it, was the two rounds of radiation she'd had for cancer when she was six and ten. Cancer in a child is bad enough; but to have the cure create a whole new problem is even worse. Yet through the intimacy Wendy has experienced with that nasty invader, pain, she has invested herself in creating beauty. It's her attention to detail that make her mazes -- and the exquisite cross-stitch pieces that she currently makes -- so lovely. Perhaps it's also the reason she enjoys the elaborate doll houses that her father has made for her.

Wendy's headaches haven't disappeared, but they are bearable now. She says she has good days and bad days, but more good than bad. Along the way she's learned to manage the pain, and she's learned compassion for others who suffer. Her days are full of creating beauty and sharing it with loved ones.

The pain that nearly devastated her led her to discover gifts in herself which have helped her cope and have touched the lives of others as well.

Current cross-stitch project 

Completed cross-stitch project

Inside one of Wendy's miniature houses

At the corn maze with Wendy


Joan Husby said...

Thank you for writing this,Ginger. What a brave young lady Wendy is, and how inspiring.

Angela said...

I really enjoyed reading this, Ginger. Thanks for sharing!

barefootmommy said...

How wonderful to hear wendy's whole story. I have known her, but not known her entire story. How beautiful that her dad has made her such wonderful dollhouses. Her mazes are AMAZING. I remember always drawing after having my braces tightened in middle school. To endure worse pain constantly is hard to even comprehend. But when I see the intricacy of the mazes, it is wonderful to see the gift they are to Wendy. What a wonderful gal!