Amazing Grace and Me

Goddess of Grace

Goddess Grace was comissioned by Theresa Healy and Wendy Young and created by Clarie Johnson

When my partner and I packed for an eight-month trip, we laid out everything we thought we would need for four seasons, formal occasions, casual outings, long walks, and just plain hanging out.

My share would not fit in the luggage I’d chosen: one large suitcase, one small (the size we called “carry-on” until terrorist threats made them “check-in”), and my ubiquitous, well-used leather pack.

Then the sorting began. I winnowed the contents of the large suitcase down to what I figured I could stand to see myself in for the next eight months. Into the leather pack went the absolute essentials: laptop, camera, and writing notebooks. The small suitcase held books, pens, essential papers, toiletries, and the gifts we were taking.

The hand symbolizes the quest to understand and learn from the universe

The hand symbolizes the quest to understand and learn from the universe

There was no room for the Goddess of Grace.

Only problem was, I needed her. She was the gift of two of my dearest friends, Theresa Healy and Wendy Young. They had specially commissioned her for me at a time when I had no courage left and had to borrow theirs.

She was my talisman. Just touching her filled me with Tess’s and Wendy’s love for me. She reminded me there were people who believed in me even when I didn’t.

Since this journey was a time of testing the waters of another continent to see if I could see myself eventually calling it “home”, I needed some extra courage. Grace had to come with me.

When I bent to squeeze her into the small suitcase, I swear all the other bits and pieces already there moved aside to welcome her.

For the next eight months, she traveled with me everywhere. She crossed the Pacific twice. She wandered around New Zealand and three Australian states. She was there when I met my partner’s relatives. She comforted me during bouts of intense homesickness.

We’re back home now. Grace lives in a special spot beside my bed. I often touch her when I need a boost. She knows all my secrets, and she never tells.

What talisman do you carry? Who loans you courage when your own is failing? What helps you back on your feet when you stumble?

Story of the Goddess of Grace

Clarie Johnson listened closely when Theresa and Wendy told her about me. The doll she created and the story she wrote to accompany it are perfect. Here’s the story:


The sunflower seeks the sun; the central spiral is a rainbow of love

Storytelling spins a world of myths, of history/herstory, of imagination…it explains life! The deeply felt experiences of life are passed along as a tale. She embraces her listeners with her magical words and voice, taking them on a journey from the everyday to other worlds of beauty and wonder.

Like the sunflower seeking the sun: “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” (Maori Proverb)

The swan symbolizes self-transformation, intuition and the sensitivity within each person. This swan represents the spirit in which you approach people and life events. With gracefulness and sensitivity you bestow freely, divine loive, kindness and wisdom.

The hand symbolizes the quest to understand and learn from the universe. In these hands is the heart of legacy—connecting the generations.

“As we live each day may we do our part to make one difference, to touch one heart, and through each day, may it be our goal to encourage one mind and inspire one soul.” Anonymous

Cathryn Wellner, 2010

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6 comments for “Amazing Grace and Me

  1. Wendy
    January 21, 2010 at 7:26 am

    What a beautiful piece! I love the photos. I miss you and I miss our early morning coffees. When are we getting together again? Take care- Wendy

  2. January 21, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Hoping for a spring visit. Writing about Grace made me miss the two of you keenly.

  3. Julie Kerr
    January 21, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    What a lovely piece, Cathryn! It is a gift to be known, understood, loved and supported. Tess and Wendy are good at that! And your story is a testament to the power of one–or two–heart(s) to ecnourage another. I hope all is welll with you…

  4. January 21, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Tess and Wendy are a special blessing in the lives of so many of us. Wonderful to see your name here. You took on such a major position and have brought strength and vision to it.

  5. January 28, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Theresa Healy sent the link to “Amazing Grace and Me” to Clarie Johnson, the talented woman who created the goddess doll. I’m thrilled to know the essay reached her just when she needed it, as the doll did me.

    She’s given her permission to share the response she sent to Theresa:

    “Got your email yesterday morning. I am so overwhelmed I don’t know what to say – reading Cathryn’s blog made me cry. It astounds me that something I made can have such an impact on someone’s life journey. Your email came at exactly the right time. There has been some turmoil happening at work and whenever that occurs I go to the place of what the hell am I doing! I haven’t sewn in months and only within the last couple of weeks have I been considering it again. Sewing is an outlet and yet I have been avoiding it – not sure what that is about. However, after reading Amazing Grace and Me, I started working on Goddess of Knowing last night. I really wanted to have goddess dolls made to have in the goddess gathering at Salmon Valley. I want to say thank you for being gently persistent in your encouragement of my creativity. Your belief in me has given me strength to do some things that I try to avoid – like put my work into the PGX. Thanks Theresa, and thanks to Wendy too.”

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