Personal Stories: There’s Nothing in Life that Happens by Chance…

Usually, we do not realize why our life takes this or that direction. We do not see God’s Providence. Later, if we look back and analyses the past years, we see that nothing happened by chance.
I recall the time when I started going to church and had taken communion just a couple of times. I was sitting in Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, waiting for my turn to come to Father Andrew to confess. There was an old icon worn from time on a column in front of me. I was in my first year of a school of arts and was still craving to create something. My proud mind perceived icon painting (like all church life in general) as something lacking creativity, limited with various dogmas, very dull and intimidating the artist’s personality. These thoughts ran through my head when I was looking at the icon. Suddenly, a miracle happened. I can not clearly recollect what I felt exactly at that moment because more than fourteen years have passed since that time. I can simply say that I felt the grace that shone from that icon. This was a new, delightful and unearthly feeling. I was so deeply moved by it that I thought I would become an icon painter one day.
However, at the same time it was painful for me to renounce my self, my creative individualism. It was like I had to hide my talent in the earth. I thought I was doing a great favor by my decision to paint icons. It was not until later that I realized that painting icons is a great honor. I felt that I should be grateful to God because He allowed me to serve Him in this way.
One more detail: later, when I realized the mercy of God that had poured on me through the icon, I tried to learn more about that icon. I came to the church and looked at it once again. It was a pity that the inscription on the icon was illegible, and only later could I understand that it was Archangel Gabriel. My Heavenly patroness Larissa is commemorated exactly on the same day that the Synaxis of Archangel Gabriel is celebrated.