(DOUG JESSOP – JESSOP’S JOURNAL) In this episode we feature powerful, positive, and inspirational folks including an interview with a woman that does something I couldn’t do – she’s a hospice nurse that tells powerful stories about end-of-life experiences
There are certain experiences that touch your senses…sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Our visit with the Light of the World sculptor, Angela Johnson, touch your soul.
What gives you hope? Talan Summer’s has an inspirational story of living his family motto “Never Give Up.”
In between, we have musical guest Ashley Hess.
BUT FIRST, Candy Kinser …
Candy Kinser, RN, BSN; has a job that I couldn’t do. She’s been a nurse for many years, first in the emergency room and now as a hospice nurse.
Full disclosure, I have a soft spot in my heart for nurses. My grandmother was a pediatric nurse in the 1940’s. I have one of her nursing school textbooks that literally has a chapter on the “proper care and use of leaches.”
(BAD DAD JOKE ALERT– I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself). It was a treat to visit with Candy for this Jessop’s Journal interview.
I don’t know about you, but at least for me, the older you get the more you are concerned about “Quality of Life.”
One of my favorite interviews in my long broadcast career was with a 103-year-old woman, named Romaine. Sharp as a tack. Sweetheart of a lady with a great attitude and wonderful advice. She recently passed away peacefully.
For me, if I can maintain a good quality of life, like Romaine did, I’m okay living for a long time. If my quality of life takes a turn for the worst, I’m okay with dying younger. Everyone’s definition of “quality” is different. Candy described it this way; “Connection with other human beings.”
We talked about what I like to call, “universal truths.” I think it is safe to say that everyone thinks about our life on this blue ball called Earth and our journey while we are here. It’s also natural to wonder about what happens next.
Candy is the author of a book called, “Into the Arms of the Angels” that tells true end-of-life stories.
It is clear to me that Candy is a very compassionate person that loves what she does as a hospice nurse. She grinned as she told me; “Dying people are really cool and they know what matters. It’s not the stock market, it’s not even their favorite sports team. It’s love. Family. Loved ones. Peace.”
It’s seems to me that when it’s your time to go, it’s your time. I’ve talked to a number of first responders over the years that have recounted stories of horrible accidents that people have miraculously survived and on the hand, minor fender benders that people died from.
Candy told me a couple of inspiring stories along those lines. The written word can certainly be powerful, but in this case, you really need to watch, hear, see, and feel the impact of those special stories that Candy told me.
The Light of the World Sculpture Garden features fifteen larger than life scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. We visit with the sculptor Angela Johnson about her next project
There are certain experiences that touch your senses…sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Then there are some experiences that touch your soul. This episode of Jessop’s Journal is one of those.
There is something about a bronze sculpture. Unlike a painting that is in the “no touch” zone, bronzes invite a tactical connection. If you’ve ever seen a sculpture that has been touched, you will notice a certain patina.
Angela Johnson, the self-taught sculptor that has created the Light of the World Sculpture Garden, with fifteen larger than life scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, located at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah; put it this way; “With bronze, I encourage people to reverently touch the depictions of Jesus Christ. What’s really amazing is that there are certain areas where you can tell hundreds of people touch the same area. Whether it’s the marks of the nail prints in his hand in the resurrected scene of “Reach and Faith”, it’s where people reach up and they stroke an area of the statue. Because they do, it’s a “love touch” and it changes coloration. It becomes gold.”
I met Angela in her studio to see a maquette scale version of her next project called “The Tree of Life Vision.” It’s awe inspiring. As I walked into her studio it is was interesting to note how high the ceilings are. We aren’t talking a small project. Come to find out that this new project features over two-hundred larger than life figures. To give you a sense of proportion, Angela pointed out a figure of a man in the middle of the lower field that was holding an unfurled banner and told me he was about twenty-two inches tall. I then had the honor of putting clay on the full-size figure of that man, titled “Captain Moroni”, before it goes to the foundry. That figure was seven feet tall! It is going to be a companion piece next to the Light of the World Garden and cover well over an acre.
The Tree of Life Vision sculpture is full of symbolism. There is a valley in the foreground with numerous figures of different historical and ethnic backgrounds. You are lead on a journey up a steep and rocky incline guided with an iron rod to help you towards your final destination up a hill leading to an illuminated tree. To the right of the hill there is a large, spacious building with certain ominous figures and a heavy chain. The pinnacle of the entire presentation is the figure of Jesus Christ standing under a tree with light emanating from it.
There are over two-hundred figures with intricate details. Angela pointed out that each viewer seems to be drawn towards certain characters based on their life experiences.
It is a fact that there is opposition in all things. She gave me a tour and pointed out a figure of a mother in anguish as her child is falling down the hill. Parents have and will always be worried about their children. I spied a young lady named “Innocence” peering from behind a column in the darker side of the sculpture, which prompted a conversation with Angela about man’s inhumanity to man.
On the other side of the scale, one of the figures I loved was a small girl with outstretched arms and the most incredible look of joy on her face as she met Jesus Christ. Angela said, “The epitome of joy is the joy that they are expressing in their open arms and the delight in their eyes as they are looking up at the only being who truly understands them.
What is the message of this donation funded project? Angela got emotional and said, “This is to recreate that connection and that open discussion and that bond of love. Which in the end is more powerful than the pain? The pain terrifies us, but the love heals us. That has been and still is, the ongoing mission of Jesus Christ.”
There are all kinds of teams. People working together for a common purpose. Talen Summers was part of the Bear River football team that won the state championship in 2006.
What does it mean to be part of a team to Talen? He told me; “You learn to work together, learn to love each other. Do the best you can and have fun while doing it.”
Talen’s most important team is his family. Talen’s father, Stan Summers, told me about his son; “He’s just been a fighter since he was born. He was 29 1/2 weeker. He was the first person in Utah to have surfactant. which is a new steroid that helps them develop their lungs. He had open heart surgery when he was 10 days old.”
Talen is fighting IGG4 Systemic Sclerosing Disease that hardens the tissue from the inside out. There is no cure.
Talen said, “Basically, if you don’t have a family support system with something like I have you wouldn’t last very long.”
The Summers have a family motto. Talan takes that motto seriously; “Never give up. I am proud that I fight. There are so many times I could have given up. Could have taken a different path. Could have taken the short way out. You know. It’s just not who I am.
One Wish Cache Valley granted Talan a wish with a team he admires. Stan got emotional as he talks about a very special day. “They had a national guard come up and do a flag ceremony on my front yard with about 40 national guardsmen. He grabbed Talan’s hand and said if I can help you out there, you’ve got a lot of people here. So, he put him in his wheelchair and took him outside. Probably the highlight of his life.”
I asked what Talan what gave him hope. He answered resolutely; “The gospel of Jesus Christ. One day, I’ll feel whole again. won’t be suffering. That’s what gives me hope.”
Consider this your personal invitation to watch this entire episode of Jessop’s Journal and share it with someone that enjoys powerful, positive and inspirational story. Jessop’s Journal airs Sunday mornings at 10 on ABC4 TV and you can watch on-demand at JessopsJournal.com.
Everyone has a story. I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.
Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life. A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets, who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories.
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