The more I study and practice photography the more I see the world in frames, in potential images, in small visual snippets. I work hard to tell stories with my camera. I am passionate about this storytelling potential I hold in my hand, heart, and head. I feel so blessed to be invited in to fellow sojourner’s stories and I work hard to try to tell those stories with grace, care, and compassion. Mostly because I always know I need that more of all of that in my own life on the daily.
I curate images based on the story I want to tell. It is what finding my voice as a photographer is all about. Of course we capture what is but not without leaving our voice and perspective embedded in the pixels. I think it is one of the most interesting aspects of this art form. An aspect I am just now exploring more now that I do not spend most of my time worried about working my freaking camera (true story).
But we don’t have to be a photographer to do this crafted sharing. In the age of social media we can all do this as fast as we can hit “share” on our smartphone. I do it a lot. And mostly I love sharing. Most of the times because I want to celebrate this great life I feel blessed to live. And I want to remember and laugh and cry at all that has happened. And at times it feels courageous to share my truth because hiding is easier. And I love seeing you and your families and the hilarious (and heinous) things our kids do because it reminds me I am not alone. I love to see what you are reading, what you are thinking, what you are eating, and where you are going. I love to see what adventures you are up to and have you comment about my adventures because it reminds me of the invitation to really live that is before all of us. And laughing together and encouraging each other on the journey has become part of the way I stand up with the tribe of women who are dear to me from across this wide world. I also love that by being real and sharing our pain and hurt and our hope and joy we can encourage one another in our individual lives. I hope and pray that the moment I hit publish on a blog post that really scares me it will find it’s way to a screen and encourage someone else whose face is marred from the daily battles because truly as I write my face is scarred and dirty too. It so is. I am grateful for the way we can stay connected this way. I really am grateful. But I also hold within me this constant tension of missing out on moments (I totes have FOMO y’all) and this sometimes robs me of truly engaging where I am. And that is cause for action.
Until this point in human history most of these small moments- something funny my daughter says, the awesome art work we created, what fabulous coffee I am drinking, etc was mostly just for me and my people. So too were the moments I epic-ally failed by yelling at my kids or the deep worries that keep me from being courageous. Loneliness makes the temptation to share e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. stronger for me. And when it is motivated out of a sense of sisterhood I find peace and joy. But sometimes I want to feel validated in this life I have chosen and it reverberates back and highlights my insecurities. If I am honest, I know it is a luxury of living in the first world that I can even struggle with these thoughts.That I can sit here and drink a latte and construct and craft words that fit my right now. This too must be weighed.
I have written about this before but a need exists within me to be seen and to have my life validated or affirmed. And I know some of you get it. You have told me “me too!” and we stand together with poop smeared on our jeans (um, not my own, ahem) and with unwashed hair and we say “we are in this together! And this is important work. And I will remind you when you forget because I am your sister!” But I think this need can become unhealthy when I look to others to fulfill a need in my life that only God can meet, something that only He can affirm in my soul. I want to spend more time in quiet moments (ok, unless I move out of this crazy house “quiet moments” rarely happen but there are spaces I find during my day that I too often fill). I want to be purposeful about spending time in reflection, prayer, writing, reading, and sharing life with my people instead of filling that time with mindless scrolling and endless liking. And since I have been feeling this nudge for a while and have all but pushed it away I figured Lent is the perfect time to really embrace it (plus once I say it openly I have to do it right?!). And it is not that I think giving up coffee or facebook for a month and some change will help me identify with Jesus’ sufferings. I realize it is a luxury I can even choose to give something up but I do want to be intentional about finding where I normally seek immediate comfort and validation and really pause and not just immediately pacify and numb and entertain myself but rather seek Him instead. And I want to be vulnerable and turn towards my family and my people instead. Honest reflection can lead to space for God to speak freedom from something we did not even know had power over us.
We have recently been in a season of lots of transition for our family. This time it did not involve a move as is our usual M.O. but there has been a real shift. Life with four littles at home is full of noise and chaos and also full of lonely hours and mind numbing repetition. And right now it is also full of uncharted waters of learning what welcoming another child in and loving without fear looks like. Because if God has called us to something we just don’t get to say “no thanks” when it gets hard. And it is hard. And I mess up all the time. But it is also beautiful. J and I are sensing a season of courage in the small moments of each day. The belief that God sees these moments and He forgives and He loves and He smiles and He heals.
And that is enough.
The courage to live a quieter life and still know that it matters deeply.
This is a discipline for someone who loves to capture my life in images. It is difficult for an external processor. The lack of constant feedback and dialogue is hard for an extrovert. But I sense for a time I need to be quiet (ish). To listen more just to the voices of my dear ones for the purpose of remaining more hidden. Not secretive but just sacred. Just me and my tribe. Those who are gracious enough to invite me in and accept my crazy. Just them and me and Jesus for a while.
So I am signing off for a minute. Much love friends,