Of Pink Polish and Donna Lea

Your Life, the Greatest Adventure


Many of life’s greatest lessons and adventures happen in the oddest of places or circumstances. I’ve always maintained that life itself was the greatest of all adventures, and lessons can be learned every day and in every moment.

Regardless of your personal religion or philosophy of life there are three facts that remain constant, you are born, you live and you die.

Your being born is up to others and for the most part we delay death as long as possible. That leaves the most important part, how you live and your personal influence.

Your Eternal Influence

How you live your life and what you do with it is largely up to you. However, your personal influence, whether you know it or not, is constantly affecting those around you and even the world for good, bad or something else. Your actions and influence have meaning and not just for the moment in which they occur.

It’s true what Edwin Hubbel Chapin said, “Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.”

A Mother’s Influence

For most of us our mothers represent one of the greatest of influences in our lives and I am no different.  From the time we are helpless infants to adulthood our mothers help shape who we are and what we become, again for better or for worse and the consequences are eternal.


This is a story of the influence of one particular mother, her name is Donna. Donna was born in a small and obscure town called Ensign in rural Kansas. And now at 83 years old she lives in one of the most recognized and vibrant cities in the world, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The story of her journey from a small town in Kansas to a world destination resort city will be left to another time and place. But suffice it to say that that journey has had a profound impact on all the people she has known along the way and in particular her family.

I will say this though, despite her many losses (death of her mother, father, brother, sister and her husband) and numerous other trials and heartaches along the way she has always tried to do her best to be a good mother and positive example for her family and friends. Recently though she has endured a significant trial.

Life’s Trials

Recently Donna’s health has not been that kind to her. She has struggles like many her age with the maladies of maturing years. In a little over a year she has been hospitalize four times. And for someone who up until recently has enjoyed excellent health it has been very difficult and disheartening.

However she has tried to do her best during this time to be a good mother and example to her children, to do all that she can and to be very brave for them when many others would have given up.

Donna’s recent stay at the hospital is another testament to her courage during adversity. And even after a week’s worth of painful and discouraging tests, the results of which at this time are still not definitive she tried to be as kind, loving and optimistic as she can be under very difficult circumstances.

Hands and Time

Hands, old hands, pink polish

One night when visiting her in her hospital room as she lay sleeping I took notice of her hands. Our hands are the instruments of our lives. And like all instruments after a time they begin to show the effects of use and time.  Her hands that night reflected the music of her life.

These are hands that have lived through the depression of the 30’s, World War 2, the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s and now the 2000’s. These are hands that have cared for her children, husband and even her own parents during their declining years.  They have been touched by joy and pain but they themselves have only touched with love.

Pink Polish

While looking at her hands and pondering these thoughts, I suddenly became aware of the bright pink color on her finger tips. In the preceding days or so before going into the hospital Donna had painted her nails a pretty shade of pink.

While her hands are thin and weathered by time and use she had taken care to do her best to make them as pretty as possible. It struck me that here was a women who has lived a lifetime of joy and tribulation and who at the moment was suffering through the indignities of modern medicine, who had made the conscious effort to outwardly express her inward beauty and spiritual courage by painting her nails a bright shade of pink.

Most of us want to look our best each day for various reasons. It might be for vanity or it could be respect for the most important possession we will ever own, our body.

I’m still here.

But in this instance I think Donna was telling the world I am still here, I am important, I am still pretty.

All of us as we move forward in time will lose some of the perceived beauty of youth. As we get closer to the eternities our body’s inevitably breakdown. Our hair will gray or we will lose it. Our skin will wrinkle or sag. We will lose our ability to see and hear as we once did.

But one thing we will never lose is our true selves, our own spiritual essence. We will never lose our desire to love or be loved, to be admired and respected.

We will always want to look, feel and do our best. To never give up, never give in. For Donna that could not have been better expressed than in the defiant pink of her nail polish.

She was and is telling the world, I am here. I want to love and be loved. I want to be noticed and respected, and that is something we all desire.

Doris Lessing said this.
“The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in 70 or 80 years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all.”

Donna‘s body may have changed in the last 70 or 80 years, but the beauty of her eternal spirit has not dimmed at all. It could be easily recognized by anyone who might take notice of the bright pink polish on her nails.

Donna Lea

Donna, Donna Lea, Donna Lea Joy

Donna Lea

Donna Lea  is just as beautiful today as when this photo was taken earlier in her life. Her spirit and pink polish testify of it.

Explore the Adventurous Life – Give it a touch of pink.

P.S.  If you will please leave a comment of encouragement for Donna. I know it would mean a lot to her.

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