Thursday, 13 December 2012

a hard look at me

 I took this shot yesterday afternoon on my way home.  I didn't stop for a self portrait.  In fact, the whole reason I pulled over was because of "the red barn" - a favourite landmark I pass driving to and from my house.  It is so old and tired, barely standing, but somehow still beautiful --especially yesterday, cloaked in the bright dazzle of winter sunshine. I stood on the fence so that I could shoot as much of the barn as possible.

And then from the corner of my eye,  I see the image that I hadn't stopped for, the surprise beauty, the shadows, the lines, the patterns....and ME, right there as a part of it all.

Life, even abundant life, is so strange and full of paradox....that there is beauty in the shadows, and patterns in the random chaos of a day....that what I come for, thinking I need, is so seldom what I leave with...that I see so much more in places I'd never even thought to look at first.  I see Him, the true Beauty and Wonder of it all.  And I see me, off to the side, looking for ways to capture Him on the lens of my heart, yet struggling still.

There is much about me in this portrait that you can't see.  You can't see that I'm wearing a wool toque because I didn't bother trying to fix my bed-head from this morning, or that I have no make up on because I'm miserable and I just don't care.  You can't see that I'm snowed under with feelings of self-pity because I have a lousy cold, a running nose, a headache, a cough, and because I really just want to go to bed (just as soon as I take these photos!!)  But what really makes me feel worse than anything is knowing that I'm feeling sorry for myself when a boy on my son's hockey team has a mom and a sister both being treated for cancer...when a neighbour just lost her young niece to the same disease...when a homeless man I know is out in this cold somewhere trying to get through another day...when there is so much excruciating hurt and pain and sorrow in this world. And beauty. When there's so much exquisite beauty in the mix.

I resign myself to the fact that I'm lost for words again.  I can't seem to express the deep knowing --of God's grace and ultimate goodness-- that resides at the core of who I am.  My words just trip and tumble and land flat today.  And maybe that's okay.

        p.s. here are the pictures I stopped for in the first place.

photos and text © 2012 Melody Armstrong

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