“Never apologize for what you had to do to survive”. I don’t know the author of this quote, I wish I knew so I could give credit. It is keeping me strong right now. I have been trying to write this post for over a week, after taking these photos. I take pictures, I search for the meaning in them, they move me, I attach personal whispers of hope to the images. I survive lying in weeds, crawling on my knees on dusty roads, lying face down in my driveway, watching the sun stream through the trees, tears stinging my eyes. Hope comes in many forms. Hope is survival. This is how I swallow the hard times, how I fight for joy. And it is a fight every day. Depression is a dark place that presses down hard against our very soul. This is how I fight. I hope you find some beauty in the fight. Don’t give up.
I lie down in patches of weeds, sun streaming through the trees, catching the highlights of my hair, while bugs snap and bite at my legs. Sweat pours off my back and I contort myself to get into the perfect position. I admonish myself for taking these pictures with a cell phone because I’m supposed to be a “real” photographer.
I was stopped in my tracks last week by this simple scene. I turned off my car, and walked up the road to feel the simplicity and perfection of this moment. Moment by moment was how I survived the year of 2014. It was my “word”. I’ve never forgotten how much it changed my life, to breathe in moments.
I rolled down the windows of my car and I turned up my stereo and this song echoed along this deserted country road…and these words save me
I am found, I am Yours
I am loved, I’m made pure
I have life, I can breathe
I am healed, I am free
When I heard those words, “I am healed, I am free”…I was overcome in the middle of a dusty road. God showered me in grace, grabbed me by the shoulders made me believe his love was real. For this first time, as far back ask I can remember, I believed Him.
I had to search for treasures, inside of big giant messes, gardens long forgotten, yet beauty still thriving, pumping through my veins if I searched hard enough. The foxglove are lost…they are lost amongst the weeds, brambles and thistles. But look closer, their beauty is staggering. How could I not see what was so obvious…I had to yearn for the treasure.
How could I not know, how could I not see, hope does not always come in obvious ways. The secret is in the seeking. The secret is in the knowing that if we love dust and weeds, so many things come easier. All summer I looked here and cursed the “jungle”, the mess, and I turned my back on the gift in front of me. I turned away from the beauty because I couldn’t see it until I went searching. How could I have missed this? I am so grateful I didn’t miss it, that I found myself on a sun kissed morning, peering into this gift, and letting it’s exquisite beauty soothe me.
I looked at this blackberry patched, and I believed the lie…that if there were no weeds in here, and the rows were perfectly straight, my life would make more sense and I would be more worthy, my voice would somehow matter more. And yet…inside of the weed patch…
The weeds would even talk to each other…they would compliment each other, ignoring their shortcomings as “just weeds” and they would discover they had something to offer this world, even if it was tiny. A tiny contribution, only discovered while lying in the dirt, digging for gold.
Maybe this is the strangest post I’ve ever written. I just know, in order to survive the last year, I had to crawl on my knees in the dirt, I had to listen to God tell me the beauty would always be in the mess. I had to trust Him and know that would never leave me. I had to believe that the ordinary moments he created out of dust and weeds would be the key to unlocking the joy and hope I so desperately needed to survive.
I don’t know where you are tonight. I know it’s 2:24 am, and I’m in the kitchen late at night, searching for answers and I know I’m not the only one. Do you know I pray for you every morning? I pray for you, and I know somehow, in some way, that matters. I pray you never give up.
I believe in hope, in the fight for joy.
His mercies are new every morning.