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05/16/2010


Look for the Lesson • by Jeanne Szewczyk


Art has always been a place for me to go when I want to escape the stress and pressures of everyday life. When working on an art project, my mind makes an instant shift and all my worries slip away; Nirvana takes over and I am at peace. I really need to visit "that place" much more often. I think we all do.

Like everyone, I've had more trials and tribulations in my life than I care to remember. But through them all, I feel I have grown from each experience. I've learned to think of trying times as "life lessons." I discovered long ago if you can learn something from a difficult situation, then it changes that negative and into something positive in the end.

I think the most difficult test of my faith came when my mother passed away at age 55, soon after my husband and I were married. We were just starting out with our lives and she was unexpectedly at the end of hers. How would I be able to live without my dear mother in my life? I questioned God’s reasoning for taking her from us all too soon. My faith was given the ultimate test. Would I be able to get through this? ... Could I get through this?

A Mother's Advice
During this time I recalled two quotes my mother frequently would say to us. The first one was, "Everything happens for a reason." Although I generally feel we control our lives by the choices we make, I also believe that karma and fate play part in it too. So I set about trying to figure out why this had happened. What message was God trying to tell us? What lesson could be learned from this situation?

The second thing my mother would always tell us was, "The time to be happy is now." I have a little Holly Hobby porcelain egg my mother gave to me when I was young that has that quote on it. Although I sometimes have to remind myself of this, I do believe it is important to live in the present and not put your dreams on hold for an arbitrary date in the future, because that day may never come.

Going Within
During the time following my mother's death I found myself becoming more introspective while searching for some sort of explanation for why it had to happen. At the same time I also would find solace in retreating to my art space and losing myself in whatever I was creating at the time. I would become at peace with myself and with all that was happening around me. Responses to my quest for answers would suddenly appear right in front of me — something I don’t believe would have happened if I hadn't stopped and taken that time to paint or sew or cut and paste. I truly believe if you are in a creative mode, things will happen serendipitously because you are relaxed and open to receiving them.

Ever since that time 34 years ago, whenever life sends me on a difficult path (of which there have been many), I escape into my little art world and discover things about myself I never even knew existed. And I come out a more enlightened, stronger person. Art Saves.
"Look for the gifts in everything, especially when you are facing what appears to be a negative situation. Everything we attract causes us to grow." — Rhonda Byrne
To learn more about Jeanne Szewczyk, visit her blog at jeanneszewczyk.com or her Etsy shop at collageartstudio.etsy.com

Comments

A beautiful story...I agree that art gives us that other place to be...to relax, to understand ourselves. Thanks for sharing your story.

Jeanne, how hard that must have been to lose your mother too soon...i think she would be so proud of how she has continued to inspire the work that you do...thanks for sharing your story here...it was nice to learn a little bit more about you!!!

Such a great post! So inspiring!!!

I am so glad I came to read this bio about you Jeanne. I don't remember reading about your Mother before. My Mother died 33 years ago (she was 58 and I was 28) I identify with what you've written here and I thank you for sharing this part of your inner self with us. My Mom was a very creative woman and I think I have unconsciously (at first) followed that path. I am always happiest when I'm working away at something and can get lost in a project.
Art does save.
Joyce

I'm so happy to see you featured here Jeanne, what treat to read your article! What wonderful memories and life lessons your Mother gave you, thank you for sharing them with us all.

Jeanne, this is such a wonderful post. I can't imagine losing your Mother too soon, but I'm very sure she is watching you and is so very proud of you!

Jeanne, I love how you use your art as a way to keep the memory of your Mom alive in your heart... I bet your Mama is looking down on you now smiling. ;)

xoxo Heather

beautiful, eloquent writing, jeanne.

xo
elyse

Jeanne, I am sorry for your loss! I think your Mother found a way to help you stay on track and open your soul to art! It became your time to slip away, distract your mind and be open to the creative process! I do think when one is in the flow of their creativity, great things can happen! I am so
glad you shared your story, how Art Saved you~

beautiful story, jeanne. my mom was 54 and i 34 when i lost her and i went through that same questioning of faith and "what am i supposed to learn from this?" i was probably the greatest lesson of my life and what still drives me today. i must create my own happiness. you've done that too! :-)

Thank you all for our beautiful comments regarding my Art Saves Stories. You all have really touched my heart.
xo
jeanne

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