Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When Darkness Falls

My job takes me to some dark places. I see and hear things that stick with me long after the close of the day. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. There are tender moments that humble me straight down to my marrow, and hard decisions that chew my mind to bits but which always soften my heart. I'm grateful for the unique opportunities I have to meet people where they are and receive their impact on my life as I do my best to enrich the lives of those around me.

Sometimes I get reminders that what I do is not safe. As comfortable as I am, as easygoing as my personality is wont to be, I work on the front lines of an impoverished city with damaged, vulnerable, and severely ill people who inhabit dark places where it isn't safe for anyone. Not for them. Not for me, even if we are both armed to the teeth with the best intentions.

There are many kinds of fear, and most of them are messages trying to tell us something about ourselves and our relationship with the world around us. There is fear of the unknown vs. fear of the known, fear of failure vs. fear of success, fear for safety vs. fear of being too darn fearful. It doesn't matter what flavor it is, what matters is that we all have it, and it can serve a purpose (as long as you're not afraid to look it in the eye). 

My work is not safe, and I am not safe in doing it. I am okay with that. I am grateful for days that remind me of this and give me the opportunity to decide anew that I am okay with that, and that I am honored for the opportunity. No matter what comes in each of my days, no matter what goals I cross off my bucket list, no matter what kind of fear I may walk through, my deepest hope is that I will be able to keep marching through the darkness, keep staring down the fear, and stand up straight and strong when I'm called to.

When darkness comes calling, I hope I will always answer:

Let there be light.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Inspiration Monday: Connect the Dots

Oh, blog. I've missed you. I've been slacking, I know. It's life. It gets in the way: oil changes, doctors' visits, cat food shopping, Post-It note writing, lightbulb changing, hair cuts, and world changing. It can wear a person down.

Though I'm the first to admit that I get caught up in the everyday, lately I realize that it is the spaces between things that our life stories take shape. It's in the detours, the side streets, the unexpected dead ends that we find our surprises, think on our toes, and test our worth. If everything always went as planned, we'd never have anything to talk about. It would be a boring, soft-heeled world full of boring, soft-heeled people with no stories to tell and no lessons to learn.

Take a look at these two photos. They seem a world apart, but use your imagination. Think up a way that a person would visit them both in the same day. What does the road between look like? Which one are they coming from and which one are they going to? How will each place change the way the person thinks about the other? Will they return?

Connect the dots. You might be surprised how many pictures you can make with just a few, and it's really the only way to make sense of a world of endless shapes.