Beautiful Rising


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It feels like I’m coming out of a bit of hibernation in many ways, although, I still feel very much in hibernation in other ways. One particular thing that felt very uncharacteristic of these past few months was going on a photo shoot last weekend. It was my first photography hire of the year. It felt really good. I’ve scarcely picked up my camera over the past three months… not even just to shoot something for personal work.

Taking those photos Saturday was a great lift for my spirit. It was needed, given the such dormant state of many of areas of my life lately… especially because this photo shoot, though a professional hire, was for a dear friend. I don’t know if I’ve ever known the area of friendship to be in a state of dormancy until I lost a baby. I had read that this is one of the results of losing a child. I just didn’t believe it, and thus, didn’t expect it. So, I can’t say that I’ve been okay with it. But I will say that what I see happening with flowers {like the little crocuses that were rising up out of the cold, brown, brittle ground at the park on my shoot last Saturday}, I believe, can also occur in all the other areas that have seen dormancy over the past several months.

I believe {or hope for} this even regarding my weight. I joined a gym. Even regarding my home. I’m finally getting around to doing some of the things I’ve been eager to get to. I’m finally wrapping up a big freelance job that will allow it. Even regarding my resolve. While I daily fight wanting to give up on so much, because so much has changed in ways I never asked for it to, I still rise each day. I still go. It might not be the picture-perfect “go” that society would like to see. I’m pretty sure the teachers, and perhaps the other moms, at my son’s preschool wonder why I always look so disheveled… something they’d really question it if they’d known me years ago. I get looks when I go places, and I cringe, because I know what the looks mean, yet there is nothing I can do. I once tried. Actually, many times. I tried to grieve the way I thought others would want me to… or not grieve. I tried to fight the places I felt myself going. That did not help me. I think it actually thwarted any sort of measurable progress toward coping and functioning… regress, as opposed to progress.

But Spring is back. It always returns. And while it usually seems like it will take too long to come back in the dead of winter, once it arrives, I always sort of think well, that wasn’t so bad… actually snuck up on me sooner than I thought it would. This Spring, I’ll let change what seasons change. What I can change, I’ll be more patient with. I’ll give it more time. That is something I didn’t do a year ago.

If there was a magic pill, I would be the first in line to take it. But there is no easy road. Only a long one.

So here I am again. The second Spring since that turning point of life. Typing it just now seems weird. I never thought I would have a “turning point”. And I never knew turning points could be so slow-motion. Anyway, I’m not saying I’m rising up from anything. That would be foolish and unrealistic for me to do. But I’m watching other things rise.

Taking a break from photography is one of the best ways to tell if true passion lies there. When you pick up the camera again… or the habit… or the scheduling of shoots… and you start where you left off, passion is alive where feeling like you never walked away is present. It’s alive where feeling like this is what you were meant to do is present. It’s alive where taking a picture for others and capturing the beauty in their lives is nothing even close to work or “a job”. And that is what I felt again on Saturday.

I took family photos for this small clan who recently went from a family of three to four.

I haven’t even had a chance to sift through all the photos yet. But this is one of the few I did see… and it’s an instant favorite.

This is a mom who I look up to. She and her husband started her family after my husband and I did. But though I’ve been mothering almost twice as long as she has, I look up to the way she does it. She is calm, which I aspire to. And what seems to be characteristic of her in this photo is exactly what she is in the flesh. Joyful. Giving. Beautiful. And very gifted in multi-tasking… she makes it look easy, no? Of course, when you’ve got two really good-natured boys, the job is much easier. And good-natured, they are. We saw this family for dinner recently, and I enjoyed our time, of course. But my little guy and toy tractors had all the attention there was to be had from my friend’s oldest {sitting on her lap here}. For the photo shoot, however, I had this little guy all to myself. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s safe to say, we’re buddies now. All he wanted to do was share his little peach gummy rings with me and call me by his aunt’s name… which was sweet… except, he referred to those peach candies as pickles for some reason, and I was Aunt Jenny. That’s two-years-old for you. I remember that time well, which I think is why I so enjoyed hanging out with this handsome boy those couple of hours… it made me reminisce about Izzy at two years old, and what a sweet time that was.

I enjoy every shoot I do. But when I get to do one for a family I’ve been blessed to be a part of, it’s even more special. I was blessed to be able to design wedding invitations for my friend, then do their first family photo session. Before she met her husband, she was a friend and co-worker who left one of the most special impressions on me that I’ve ever known. I wrote about it once here {which also shows the photos from the first shoot I did for them… and will give a glimpse of just how much has changed since then}. She is a picture of grace and beauty that needs no photo to make it evident. But with such a smile, it would be a shame not to take her picture.

Coming out of this little hibernation from photography… of life, really… I can’t think of a better way to hit the restart button.

Each time I do a shoot, I hope I’m able to give those people a gift. I’ve frozen a specific time of their lives that they will never get back in real time, and hopefully, I’ve done it well. If so, that is my gift. What I don’t always get on a shoot is a gift in return {other than the reward of getting to do something I love}. But, Saturday, I did… this Women’s Devotional Bible, which my friend who gave it to me had a part in producing. I hadn’t expected her to give me a copy at all. We once worked together at the publishing company where this Bible was published. In fact, she recently gave me several theology books to read, also from that publisher, when I saw her just a couple of weeks earlier. But those are on loan… some reading material to help me do some digging into what I believe about God and why I believe it.

The Bible, however, is a keeper. I already own an ESV translation… a gift given to me by one of the people I was hired by when I started work at the publisher. And I even have an ESV study Bible. But this one is for women, and I’m thrilled that it was compiled to begin with, but even more thrilled to have been gifted a copy to keep.

As I take each day, one by one, I think my new Bible will be something that adds a sweet fragrance to them.

While it does, I’ll be grateful for these gifts in particular… another Spring. Friendship. Knowing what it is I want to do and getting to do it, even when life requires a break from it. God’s fragrant word.