In my personal experience of meeting people, in private conversations or hearing confessions, I often catch myself thinking about inspiration as something that we lack the most in life. We are often tired and despondent. Sometimes we despair and tend to look on the dark side of things. In such moments, I always want to say that we can find a way out of this impasse.
I say this because I have personally experienced something similar. I was in my third year of studies at the State Academy of Arts when I suddenly felt that I had completely lost interest in what I was doing. We painted pictures, studied composition and drawing. However, none of that brought me any joy, and my grades were not very good. I was confused, and the advice of my teachers and friends did not seem to be of much help. The situation seemed familiar, but to me it was hopeless in its own way.
At that point, I had a MEETING that helped me a lot. There was a small room at the Academy called Valuable Funds. We used it for storing works of the former students. One of such works accidentally caught my eye, because I saw something very important in it. It was an ordinary piece of artwork; I do not even remember what was depicted on it, and that hardly matters. The atmosphere and the inner thrill of this work struck me. I began coming there almost every day and spent hours looking at it. With every visit, I felt an awakening desire to do something, to continue to study and to draw. Soon I found out who was the author of this painting and became acquainted with her works (she was a girl, who had graduated a few years before me). Through her works, I, dare I say it, resurrected.
Nothing had changed on the surface. There were still the same studies, the same teachers, the same paints, canvases, paper, pencils and the same me. At the same time, I suddenly realized that something very important inside me had changed. I began to gain confidence that something could be done and that I was going to succeed. Soon my hopes came true. I began to do much better and broke my impasse…
This experience helped me, and now I often share it with people. I tell them, “Yes, today everything is dull, gray and hopeless. However, there is a way out of this situation; you just need to find a foothold. It may be different for everyone. In my case, it was another student’s work. In your case, it may be a book, music, evening walks, playing sports, meeting a good person – anything … ” It is important to “tune” our soul so that it would be in constant search. Without inspiration, our life is like a ship drifting at sea with its sails down. We have everything necessary, but we cannot sail because there is no wind. Our sails hang lifelessly, and all we can do is row. This is painful. However, everything changes when the wind fills our sails and our ship rides the waves towards its goal. It seems to me that we should always be in search of this wind, asking ourselves where to go and what to do, so that the wind of Divine grace may fill our lives.
I think that we can find a source of inspiration in meeting God through prayer. If we looked for this inspiration more often, we would see our everyday life in a completely new light. This is possible, as long as we think about it and strive for it. If my advice helps anyone, I will be glad.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Fr Sergius Nezhbort, cleric of the St Elisabeth Convent, head of the Convent’s icon-painting workshop