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.