“What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” ~ John 1, 4-5
We share with you the 2020 PHS Christmas card that is arriving in the mailboxes of over 20,000 residents, employees and volunteers this month. This year’s card features the art of Linda King, who lives at Dickson Hollow
, in Menomonee Falls, WI. A print of her watercolor painting, entitled “O Holy Night,” is accompanied by familiar words from the Gospel of John to create the beautiful card.
Linda was among the first residents who moved to Dickson Hollow in Menomonee Falls, WI, when it opened in 2015. A retired teacher, she describes herself as a “self-taught” artist. Although she has worked in other media, she began painting two years ago. Her paintings typically depict flowers, birds and landscapes. She finds inspiration all around her. “I’m constantly taking pictures with my phone and use the photographs to spark a painting.”
Linda hangs her paintings on her apartment door for her neighbors to enjoy. She says that people often stop her in the hallways to say how much they appreciate her artistry. “All my neighbors here are so wonderful. They come by and take a look and if I don’t change the painting every two weeks, they will knock on my door and say, ‘We need a new painting,’” she laughs.
Jenny Weise, Campus Administrator, said, “Linda is a wonderful ambassador for Dickson Hollow. She loves to paint, so I asked her if she would consider painting a holiday scene to submit for the PHS Christmas card and she agreed.”
While Linda devoutly practices Orthodox Judaism, she submitted this artwork for the Christmas card in recognition of the mission and Christian ministry of Presbyterian Homes & Services and to honor the unity and friendship she has found among the residents, families, friends and staff of Dickson Hollow.
“I think her art is special because Linda is Jewish, yet she took the time to research the nativity scene so she could honor my request,” said Jenny.
Stepping beyond her own tradition and letting her art represent the symbols of her neighbors’ holy day is important to Linda, especially in the midst of COVID. She feels the deep need for unity and cooperation through a difficult time and thinks a lot about “tikkun olam,” a Jewish concept that in Hebrew means “repair of the world,” in partnership with God. “I constantly ask God why he put me in this world and what he wants me to accomplish,” she said.
Linda recalled that when she first searched, the Jewish senior communities in the area all had waiting lists. Her husband’s health didn’t allow them to wait, so they found and moved to Dickson Hollow. “When my husband died, I considered moving but realized that Dickson Hollow had become my home,” she said. Now she believes that God brought her to Dickson Hollow for a reason and says that the relationships she has formed with residents and staff make her life richer for being there.
Linda also offers her artistic talents as a resident volunteer, often working alongside her friend and fellow resident Goldie Jones. Together they create and design the community bulletin board in the lobby to reflect the changing seasons. “I try to give back as much as I can here. I feel so indebted to my neighbors and to the staff who have embraced me and made me feel a part of this community,” she said.
Since 2010, an original painting by a PHS resident or employee has appeared on the annual Christmas card. We are blessed to add Linda’s beautiful and inspiring work to this tradition.
May you be blessed as well. Merry Christmas.
Meet the PHS Christmas Card Artists of years past:
2019: Sister Ansgar Holmberg, Carondelet Village
2018: Marge Lyons, Waverly Gardens
2017: Carolyn Cardle, Folkestone