I met Mike when I first began working for Homes of Light last year. My list of duties at the time included one item : write success stories about the clients. I knocked on the door of Mike (last name withheld) and was greeted by a warm smile and beautiful paintings on the walls. I’m no expert but I could tell there was something special about the pieces. Each item was created with love which obvious by the similar themes and colors in each painting. Mike is very proud of his work and starts bringing in painting from another room in the apartment, eventually lining all four walls of the living room. Warm colors, sunsets, nature, family are all repetitive images in his work. Although I was there to talk about his success in the program, I couldn’t stop asking about his work and how he managed to keep the creative process going when times were hard for him. “I just paint what matters, what’s real”. His obstacles inspired him to value things in life that most take for granted and to share them with the world.

Everyone deals with adversity differently. When obstacles arise for some they crumble under the pressure, others prosper when pushed to their limits and grow stronger, truly proving survival of the fittest. Although He was awarded for his abilities in machine operations and as a mechanic while serving it was his love for art that truly helped him find beauty during such a dark time in his life.