Student responds to pain and suffering through art

There she was, a typical white girl with her tall white mocha latte sitting in Starbucks at the break of dawn reading. Her nails were just as flawless as her makeup, so perfect yet so intimidating. She flipped through every page so finely and delicately. That was her appearance, but inside she was frightened of her future.

Many of us have the ability to put what we think of someone in a box and not move it from where it is. But come to find out, these people are just like everyone else. Being a college student can sometimes be a little frightening, but being from a different culture and being a pastor’s kid is even more frightening. I am personally not like most people since I have seen firsthand how struggles affect people and how sometimes the weakest are actually the strongest. I am not going to spill the beans about how hard my life is because everyone has their own struggles to break through. But just like that typical white girl, I am frightened. Being frightened has made me stronger in the way I demonstrate my art because no one will judge me. I enjoy doing art because where words fail, art speaks, and that is the ultimate cure for me.

When I was a little girl, I grew up in a Christian home with a pastor for a dad and accepted God at the young age of six. I was really athletic until I turned 12 and I was in a bus accident which caused my world to flip and change drastically. I remember the bus accident I couldn’t move my body to get myself out of the situation I was in. Once the firefighters got there and took me out of the situation, they rushed me to the hospital. The doctors took me to surgery pretty fast only to realized that my pelvis had shifted/moved up, my bladder had erupted and several of my ribs were broken. I was in a bad shape.

I spent several months in the hospital fighting depression and blaming God for my suffering. At that moment, My mom encouraged me to read Job. “Honey, read it and you’ll see how lucky you truly are for surviving the accident,” she said. I remember being mad at her and God, but I still read Job and realized that what she said was right. Reading Job made me realize how short life is and how I should live in the moment. I also realized that small details of life matter, like how the displacement of a small bone effects the whole body.

This new discovery of God’s grace and the significance of even small details changed me. I don’t know how to explain this change. It was almost as if I had become someone new with new eyes. I started seeing life in a different way and since I couldn’t necessarily say it or write it, I just drew it. I would draw the pain I went through, and even the encounter with God that I had. Art helped me process and confront the small bits of myself to become a stronger person.

There are so many more details to the story and they are all very important, but when it comes down to it, my passion is art. Art is not just a way to express emotions, it is also a way to demonstrate a story, and mine is just beginning at JBU.

Cerda is a freshman majoring in art and illustration She can be reached at CerdaL@jbu.edu.