Ah, as much as I love birthday season, I can’t help but sigh with relief when it’s over. Mid February is the time to do other things, to think of other subjects, to glimpse hints of Spring. For the past two days I’ve been taking photos of seventeen seniors for the high school’s concerto night.
Last night I photographed all the pianists. The first shoot was a bit rough. I’ve never done formal photos with a piano before and it took me several minutes to find the best angles and poses and tilt of the lights. But by 8:40 when I was winding up the 8th shoot, I had it down. “Hands on the keyboard. Straight back. Look over your shoulder just a bit.” In five minutes we had thirty excellent photographs to choose from.
Clicking my lens cap onto my camera and disconnecting the studio lights, I had a surprising sense of satisfaction– “I’m learning. I’m getting better.”
I’m learning. I’m getting better. After a long drought of any sort of progress, those words have been my refrain for the last two weeks.
I wasn’t prepared for the depression that almost crushed me in January. Friends had warned me that the first holiday season without my mother would be difficult, but it was the dark January days that left me wondering– when will this cloud of grief lift? will I ever be happy again?
And it wasn’t until a crisis in my extended family hit two weeks ago that I could see the growth in these long months of sorrow. I’ve dealt with it well; I’ve handled it calmly and with reason. My brother repeatedly says to me, “I can’t believe that you’re not falling apart.”
Do you think that sometimes, when we think we’re stuck in deep mud or even sliding down the hill, that we are slowly imperceptibly climbing up? Did those long months of weeping actually make my heart grow rather than washing it away?
Other parts of me are shifting too, I have a new confidence in my calling at church and as a mother. I set out on a run the other day and ran farther and faster than I have in months. Yes, I’m tired and sore but I feel hope again. I feel like me again. But different.
I think that as human beings we have a great need to progress. And when every good effort crashes against a brick wall we lose our sense of purpose. For so long, so long, I’ve been trying, trying, trying and seeing no progress at all. Until now.
If you’ve been hurting, and trying, and failing– taking two steps forward and one step back– please hang on, wait a little longer, press forward on more day. Life may be just about to turn your way.
Michelle~ your posts are so inspiring and bring hope to a hurting world. You are sharing your life and I wonder if you realize the impact you are having on others… you will find out someday. Keep blogging, we all await to see what you’ll post next.
e and d
you inspire me. thanks for sharing such Spirit filled, hopeful, and wonderfully symbolic stories. 🙂
Michelle – I’ve been reading Segullah for some time. I review books for Meridian, which is how I came in touch with Kathryn.
Your posts about your mother caught my attention months ago. I was so touched by your perspective and honesty – the beauty of your heart. My Mother is fighting her second brain tumor and we moved back to Salt Lake a year ago to be closer to her. I have really appreciated your journey.
I just stumbled onto your blog and Wow! Your photography is stunning. Pouring over your words and photos has been the delight of my evening. You have quite the gift. Thank you so much for sharing.
Michelle, I don’t even have words to say about this post. It’s really beautiful. I have been slogging through mud too, and just yesterday began to hope that a corner had been turned. Let’s hope that it stays turned. I don’t want to get my hopes up too quickly, but I wonder if the Lord figures I’ve grown enough for now and he can let me rest for a while.
But honestly…17 soloists for concerto night? That’s one LONG concert. (Now that you’ve got the piano shots down, I may have to hire you for headshots…)
you’ve put into words far more eloquently than i could have how this past year has been, and where i’m finding myself now. glad you’re awakening again…that liminal state is a tricky place to dwell. ♥
I’m so grateful for you. You cannot imagine the hope your post brought me.
Great post, Michelle, and timely for me. In fact, my sister and I were talking last night about this very thing, and she mentioned something that really underscores your point.
The other day she walked into her kitchen, only to see that a plant she has had for several years (many years, actually)…a leafy plant she has always assumed was meant to be leafy and leafy only…had produced one small, purple flower. Immediately, she interpreted this occurrence as a message of hope. Realizing a plant that had been dormant for years could suddenly produce such a beautiful gift made her feel like all things were possible, for herself and for others.
Every day since, that purple flower is the first thing she looks at. And every day she feels its message more strongly.
I READ YOUR BLOG AND FIND TIDBITS THAT HELP ME GO FORWARD. THE END OF YOU BLOG REALY WAS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED. I THINK IT JUST CAN’T GET HARDER THEN IT DOES. BUT I TURN TO THE SAVIOR TO GUIDE PEOPLE TO ME THAT WILL LIFT AND HELP ME KNOW THAT IT WILL GET BETTER. THANKS FOR YOUR BEAUTIFUL WORDS. I AM NOT A BEAUTIFUL WRITER LIKE YOU BUT I SO ENJOY THE THINGS YOU HAVE TO SHARE.
Hope it’s more like three steps forward and one step back.
P.S. Dibs on Mary’s skirt.
Look at sweet Miss Mary. Love her bike. Love you. Inspiring post.
Mathmom and family
As usual, you are just what I needed. Big thanks from someone feeling chest deep in the mud and always hopeful that my rope is coming soon.
Lovely. Just lovely.