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friday flashback

April 15, 2011

Remember back in kindergarten when the teacher would summon everyone to magic carpet squares for story time? Today, we’re going back to the good old days. It’s story time! This one, circa 2007, is one of my favorites.

One day during the fall semester of my senior year of college I was feeling exasperated. I don’t remember why, but I could place a safe bet that it had something to do with prematurely dreading graduation. I started early. It’s how I roll.

It was a beautiful fall day and I felt like getting outside and clearing my head. So on a whim I decided to throw my camera (the basic point and shoot I was given as a high school graduation present) in a bag and go to one of my favorite trails for a walk.

I started taking pictures of trees and leaves, but after a few standard shots I was bored with the results. After some thought and an inner battle about how ridiculous I would look, I decided to go for broke and try something new. I laid down in the dirt and pressed the camera right up against the tree trunk to find a new angle. I stumbled off the path through fallen trees and wayward plants to find patches of forest where light poked through the branches. I crouched down and focused on something in the distance to see if I could create an unexpected perspective. For the first time ever I let myself feel like a moron, traipsing all over the woods alone with a camera, and let creativity take over.

This is what happened:

I still remember exactly how I felt when I uploaded the pictures and saw that golden leaf in full screen. I was one squeal shy of little-school-girl giddy with a smile permanently plastered on my face. My head was swirling with love for light and color. It was so invigorating to see something so beautiful captured by my little camera. It was the first time I thought that maybe I could learn how to take better pictures someday, and that maybe I should do things like that more often.

That day has been coming to mind frequently lately. First, because it’s so encouraging to see how God works seemingly unrelated occurrences together to form a cohesive plan. It reminds me that I’ve never asked for a sign and had one fall down from heaven, but that God has faithfully been guiding every day of my life in a singular direction, and that’s my “sign.” I may not know where the path is leading yet, but I only have to look to what he’s done in the past to feel confident about where he’ll lead in the future.

It also serves as a reminder of the risk/reward ratio. I can’t tell you how stupid I felt crawling around with my camera that day. I had no idea what I was doing. I thought that I would go home and download 100 “what the heck is that?” photos. I feared I would be spotted by an innocent passer-by who would call the cops on the insane asylum escapee.

But that one tiny risk has led to SO MANY rewards! I can clearly identify the golden leaf as my gateway photo into a wholehearted love of photography. And that feeling of uncertainty/embarrassment/”this is such a dumb idea”? I distinctly remember that feeling, and any time I’ve felt it since it’s served  as the mark of a great decision. It helps me know that I’m doing something uncomfortable that will challenge me, help me grow, and lead me in the right direction. (However, anyone who has spent time with me when I’m in documentation-mode knows that I’ve lost all embarrassment when it comes to taking pictures in public. I have no pride in those moments. Morgan, I’m still sorry for what you had to put up with while we were in San Diego. You are a good friend :))

As I’m looking for jobs and praying for direction, I’m embracing the two lessons I learned 3 and 1/2 years ago. I’m still being led down a path that will eventually intertwine all of the twists and turns along the way. I’m still making good decisions when they make me break out in hives.

We will now conclude story time with a song from this week’s soundtrack sponsor, Zac Brown Band:

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