Have you ever looked at a picture in color and then looked at it in black and white? It’s startling. It’s almost as if you’re looking at a different place and time. There are contrasts in the black and white that I miss while looking at the beautiful color.
And so it is with me in my “black and white” days. These days are punctuated with great truths; exaggerated even. But they hold such a weight. Deep down, if I’m prodded and poked, I must admit, I find great value here. It’s like the “aha” moment my soul longs for, but can’t quite grasp in color.
If I’m commentating on these days, I might use words like “blah” and “bland”, “raw” and “colorless”, “overcast” and “bleak” . But then I take a look at the photo. My breath catches at the clarity that the harshness highlights. Even the grayness soothes like a cool drink to a parched soul. Comfort and proaction is here in the bright and dark.
Social injustices become startlingly clear in black and white. Someone (in full color) asks me, “What do you think about refugees?” Hmmm, so many colors and opinions are zigzagging in and out of so many worlds and then wrapped in this colorful question.
What do I think? What do I think? I take a minute to shift from color and examine the black and white photo…and I know.
The person in front of me is the one that matters. Refugee or not, I know exactly what to do; how to love; when to take action. There are NO polarizing mantras that will sway my focus from that face; those eyes; this heart. This is what the sad gray can do.
To be honest, I wish I didn’t need it now and again to remind me of something I knew but have forgotten. But…
It reminds me that light is strong and steady. It has power. I have power. WE have power. Our light (and love) pierces and highlights and has a place in this world. It can be trusted. It silhouettes and focuses like none other.
It reminds me that my mundane feelings of gray (inadequate as they feel) are the backdrop to most of my life. It’s as if the sooner I appreciate gray, the more it freely gives to me. I suddenly see the grandeur in the slightest of these “shades”.
Yes, pain is evident here in the black and white, but so is the honest and brutal truth. What a gift.
Sea Urchin Shells remind me of springtime and sunshine. Their pastel color and intricacy resemble painted rocks. If you look from a distance, you might think someone painted the dots on a beautiful mandala. The dots indicate where the spines were previously attached. They wash on shore circular and empty, ready to be adored.
–sometimes the sky has more to say–
The trees are crying today. At least looking through a rain-drenched window makes it appear that way. Our perspective always colors our reality.
I was taken with this little pond and the lone reed & flower that remains upright, yet hollow. Winter had it’s way though I see beautiful tenacity & humility with the plant’s head bowed in thankfulness.
David and I packed some coolers and a tent. We parked the truck at a marina on Pine Island and took the Tropic Star Ferry over to Cayo Costa State Park.
Upon arrival, a manatee was in the water near the dock. I felt like he came by to welcome us to our adventure. The first night we heard rustling of an animal. Either a raccoon or rat managed to get into a food wrapper we obviously did not secure. We also heard an owl, saw a snake, watched the birds feed at dusk.
When the sun went down, it became cold fast! It was colder than I anticipated. Our air mattress deflated in the night. (which made us even colder). But then the sun came up and warmed us up. By mid day, it was hot and probably 70+ degrees. Thankfully, it never rained. There is no hot water for showers. BUT there are flush toilets.
We spent three days being connected to beauty, nature, simplicity and each other. I thoroughly enjoyed being remote and having miles of beaches to ourselves. We frolicked like teenagers during the day and the hobbled like grandparents at night 😉 LOL
What an adventure. Hiking trails and miles of beaches kept us busy. We calculated that in 3 days we walked over 25 miles. I have my little stash of shells. I found a sand dollar with lace-like edges. It’s amazing.
If you’re ok with remote simplicity, this barrier island might need to make it onto your must-see list. There’s also an option to boat over for the day to enjoy shelling if you’re not into rustic camping.
What inspires you? What makes you lose track of time? What makes the demands of life fade and the passion for life and love rush your soul in ecstasy?
A moment in dialogue with a child? A gaze upward on a starry night? A horseback ride at sunset? A hike along the forest trail? Faith-filled knowledge of your unity with God? An idea and creative inspiration in the space between waking and sleeping? Intimacy? These small snippets are the essence of what we really value, right? Is there is a discipline that allows these minuscule seconds to grow? Can we experience life more fully by experiencing more of these moments?
I think so. The discipline seems to begin with acknowledgement and giving TIME to experience glory moments. We have to come to expect them. Our busy, overwhelmed lives don’t facilitate soul food. Haven’t we given homage to drudgery long enough? It isn’t the path for wholeness.
There is another way.
While our logical mind tells us we have to worry to be productive, (and logic has it’s place in helping us survive in this body,) it’s not equipped for the survival of our spirit. Is it possible to be living in effortlessness productivity? I desire more of that life.
This may explain why vacations and trips planned away from the routines of life fill our souls so differently. Those unique moments rise to the surface when we speak of the highlights of life. When we take time to be affected by the people we are with and the sights we see, reading books and taking long meandering walks, intentionally letting our mind rest, we find that we became fueled and focused in profound, unexpected ways. We’re “more” of something, not less.
It’s as if life *rewards* and *responds* and *gives* based on something very different than our consumerist mindset. Maybe the mindset of passion + surrender = the inspired, purposeful, ecstatic life. Spirit living.
I’ve heard that we ARE what we LOVE, NOT what loves us. This makes me ponder.
“If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I shall feel that I have worked with God.”
We’re a week into a new year of aspirations, resets, focus and tasks. We clearly see the red targets we’re aiming to hit. Our calendars are groaning a bit. And goals are a necessary part of our human equation! (BUT)…
let’s not forget life happens “on the way” to goal(s).
The moment of silence that you took before you spoke, to settle the inner part of you, well, that’s living. It wasn’t a hindrance to your goal.
The chicken soup you made for a sick friend (that might have taken more time than you imagined) reminds you of your greatest strengths and also of your human frailty. That’s living. This living might have slowed your arrival to the target, and you’ll be tempted to think it’s of less value. It’s not.
The pause you made while taking a quick gaze upward allowing you to see the architecture that’s overtaken and interwoven with vines, grounded you and reminded you that multiple forces are always at work, both within and without.
This is living.
For years now, I have chosen a word, a verse, or a mantra for the year ahead. In many cases I would say more accurately, the word chose me. I love that feeling.But this year, (for weeks before the ball dropped) I have prayed, searched and listened for a word; THE word for me, only to find myself here on Jan 3rd without one. And I so love words. Sure, I could force it and lay claim to something, but that doesn’t really seem the right path. Am I alone? I imagine there are others who also feel a little bewildered that a word didn’t “find” them.
I’ve always considered having a word meant I had a sense of direction, vision and passion for what’s ahead. And in some cases, it was a definite gift of grace when I needed that exact word as comfort for a trial. But something did come to me today. It wasn’t a word, but an understanding that (for me and at this time), NOT having a word may be the exact exercise to grow me. Have you ever cleaned and organized an office, only to find you didn’t get the work done or spent effort meal planning only to look back two weeks later to see you didn’t eat well? I guess I know deep down that a word does not insure execution of my dreams. But maybe I wanted to feel a little more “together” than I do? Does that make sense?
So, instead of looking for a word to embody a war cry or grandiose emotional movement that will carry me and/or keep me grounded, I’ll understand at a deeper level that our lives speak. There is always a word at work. Always a word lived out. I’m ok without a certain word to claim
Maybe I’ll find at the END of this year a word will emerge for HOW I DID live, not how I intended to live. I do enjoy seeing our word(s) lived out. When I see your name, words come to mind that embody you. Truly our life speaks louder than any word we could say.
To you! To 2018!