Life can go very differently than you might think. But that’s no reason to give up

– an interview with Nelleke

My whole life went different than I thought it would.

I wasn’t very good at learning when I was younger, for years I worked with elderly people. When I was 40 I thought that I would probably do this for the rest of my life, but y husband stimulated me to go back to college. At first I didn’t think I could do it, but he kept encouraging me and I graduated! 

Life also went different because my husband and I would have loved to have children, but that didn’t happen. It’s something you take with you your whole life. It comes back in another way every phase in your life. Sometimes it can still bring me down for a while.

One of the main lessons I learned in my life is to look at the possibilities and not at the impossibilities when things don’t go the way you want. There are always possibilities, even when you think there aren’t.

Because of the burn-out I started to learn how to paint and mold clay. It was a type of therapy for me. But I noticed that a lot if things I tried went really well. From there on I started to do more and also participate in local art exhibitions.
I would love to exhibit my work in churches. Lately I’m making a lot of work about the Bible and faith. I would love for those works to be seen there.
I really love to see something of God in other people. If you look closely, you can find it in everyone. The only thing you have to do is really wanting to love them. I believe we are made in the image of God, and even though a lot of things go wrong, the good is still found as well. 

I love what Els van Dijk says: “We are here as people to bring the best out of each other.” That stays with me. As well as what Plato said: “Wisdom begins in wonder.”

Photography (35 mm) and interview by Merith Ebbers