By Ken Kemp
Young David grew up in Dayton, Ohio – home of Orville and Wilbur Wright. Their bicycle shop is enshrined in Dayton, along with their experiments in flight. The two brothers were a team who embodied a rare combination of technician and artist. That legacy framed something of David’s hopes and dreams, too.
His parents valued education; his father an engineer. David’s brother, more than ten years older, excelled in the sciences and became a physician – according to David, a brilliant rheumatologist. Following his brother’s lead, he too found himself in medical school. Passing tests and mastering the technical aspects of medicine came easily to David – but he felt somewhat different from his fellow students. From early childhood, he was drawn to art. Since boyhood and on through medical school, he preferred to live inside his vivid, lively imagination.
His parents were trained and skilled in applied sciences, but they were also deeply religious. Their focus opened the door for David to ask the really big questions about the universe, about spirituality, about the possibilities of transformation, about the transcendent.
The Wright Brothers were obsessed with the technical details of their flying machine – but they were more than mechanics and inventors. They were possessed by the dream of controlled flight. To them, flying was both a science and an art. Like the Wrights, David was a dreamer, too. “Growing up,” David says, “I was a right brained kid in a left brained family.”
Medicine became a vehicle. But the dream was healing and health, for his patients to thrive; to take flight. His studies led to a fascination with the human mind. He became a psychiatrist.
Dr. David Henderson began his practice, but along the way kept up with his childhood passions - poetry and painting. They became his therapy; especially helpful when he was blindsided by a period of intense personal hardship. It led to a disorienting crisis of faith.
The simple answers that were embedded in his mind and heart from those years of rigorous religious training just didn’t work. It was a dark night of the soul. But a new vision was born out of the pain. It combined his experience as a medical professional, his passion for art and a fresh and liberating spirituality. That crisis energized a whole new approach to his work.
His practice has grown exponentially. Not just in numbers, but in the quality of care, the healing and renewal that animates life and purpose and hope. His own inner healing is transferred to his patients. Redemption is a major theme for David’s work – like a seed “stomped into the ground” that then comes to the surface as something beautiful, fruitful and bountiful.
New Board Member and Curator for Art of Freedom 2019, Ben Fluno, introduced Dr. Henderson to Flite to Freedom. Ben invited David to display his art at our November 2019 event in Dallas. As he met other artists and listened to our presenters and speakers, Dr. David knew he belonged. He resonated with the notion that the creative process – art – brings healing and confidence and hope.
That night was a celebration of both art and freedom. Dr. Henderson whole-heartedly entered in.
With enthusiasm and gratitude, we welcome Dr. Henderson as a new member of Flite’s Board of Directors.
Dr. Henderson’s Professional Websites: