Samara O'Shea

Art, Faith, Humanity

Below you will find the transcription of my contribution to the travel journal. The theme of the journal was art, faith, humanity. I did take photos of my actual entry and will post them when I have time to upload. I’m terrible with the photos. I know, I know! The pictures are okay, but it was more about the prose for me. . .


“Every great work of art, I would declare pompously, is a celebration, an act of insubordination against betrayals, horrors, and infidelities of life.”
~Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

I’ve only started referring to myself as an artist in the past two years. Every time I say it, it feels better. As if I’m growing into the concept. I hesitated to call myself an artist for a long time because I write. I don’t paint. I don’t dream up murals. I don’t take photographs. But one sweet day it occurred to me that I create. I take the emotions, images, hopes, and fears that reside in my mind and put them on paper. That makes me as much of an artist as all the others. In a way, we are all artists creating art—which is ultimately an invitation we extend to each other—to see things in a new way.


“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is ______”
~ 1 Corinthians 13:13

As the Bible has it, “The greatest of these is love,” and not that I’m one to discredit the Bible (or this verse of it anyway), but I don’t think St. Paul will mind if I suggest we occasionally rotate the three. There are some days when you need hope above all else and other days when faith is what’s on call. I’ve had a relationship with faith my entire life meaning I’ve always believed there’s more to the wind and the sun than the wind and the sun. They are not only sources of light and energy but also strength and comfort. Sometimes when I am at my most disheartened, it is the rays of the sun or the presence of a gentle breeze that reminds me I am not now nor will I ever be alone.


I am about a month away from my 30th birthday. I am not afraid of getting older. Bring it on I say! I become more comfortable in my own skin by the minute. I have learned so much this past decade, and I am thrilled to know that there is more to come. One thing that has become to clear to me in my twenties, especially in the past three years, is how people pass their pain around. We can be so needlessly critical of each other simply because we are hurting. We aren’t happy with who we are or what’s happened to us, so we blame everyone else. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we are inspired to make others feel as bad as we do. Knowing this, I want to make compassion my first priority as a thirty-year-old. I want so badly to be able to extend it to everyone—even those who don’t extend it to me. We are all human. Our experiences are not that different and a little empathy goes a long way.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~ Plato