Sometimes, when we’re in the midst of times that are difficult, and then, when these testing times seem to continue relentlessly, our courage, perseverance, trust and faith are called upon more than usual.
Whether these hard times are related to illness, loss, grief, overwhelm and/or general confusion, they draw on our reserves of strength so much that a sense of hope becomes necessary to keep on going.
This painting came as a result of weeks and months of pain and exhaustion from an extended bout of shingles. Never before in my life had I been so incapacitated for so long and the ongoing pain and discomfort wore me down to the extent that I felt that I would never be the same again.
And this was true – I am not the same as I was before this illness – but just not in the way I thought.
Eventually the shingles – and the depletion that came in their wake – abated and I found that I was certainly not the same as I’d been before, but that I was stronger, healthier, more courageous and more authentic, with a renewed energy for life.
It seemed that the prolonged difficulties and inevitable isolation that came with them stripped away everything that was superfluous in my life or that was no longer serving me well, thus allowing fresh, new possibilities to flow in. Overall, this experience was a very significant and meaningful turning point for which I will be eternally grateful.
This painting is my attempt to capture the immediate difficulties we all go through, as well as the greater capacities and deeper wisdoms that are our reward from enduring and triumphing over our individual hard times.
The title of the painting comes from a powerful prayer that I repeated over and over to help me keep going:
Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding!