Monday, October 19, 2015

My Soul Will Fly Away.

   To me, contrary to the general opinion of my family and really of all the people I know, this is my favorite day of all. There is a freshness on this day that I just don't feel on other days and when I wake up to a drowsy sun just about to rise, I am inspired to make the week as intriguing as possible.
   It was on this day one week ago that I created this image and it has taking me exactly one week to be fully happy with it. Each day of last week, I woke up and saw different things I didn't like about it or I found something new I wanted to add. With these new things I took away or introduced, I asked myself why I had put those things in or taken them away, and it was not until I added birds and the concept of flight that I fully became aware of what I felt towards the message behind the photo.
   It is not merely a portrayal of grief, which is what I had initially planned to create, but rather, a story about death. That death is both a finality and an infinity, both dreadfully sad for those left behind but so gloriously joyous for the child of God that takes the last steps to where they have been traveling to since birth, their home in heaven.
  But for those of us who are left behind as the spirit of loved ones fly away, there is a struggle with hope. I've observed people who search for this hope, perhaps looking for something they think they need but ultimately can't find. I have seen rejection, an angry cry of "why" demanded from God, the One who knows all and who has planned everything for a specific purpose. But I have also observed people who have found hope in the arms of Christ, the same arms that received the spirits who flew through the gates of the Kingdom.
   I think the thing that fascinates me the most, and what has so captivated my mind lately, is how people are grieved by the fact of what death is. It is, in a material sense, the final page turned in the life of that person here on earth. It is complete, it is heartbreaking. But for Christians, yes we grieve for the departure of a soul we loved and will never see again on this earth, but more importantly, if that soul received spiritual life while still alive on this planet, we rejoice in what death truly means. That the soul has reached it's true home in heaven, where every Christian will arrive one day in jubilant reunion with their Creator.
   Death is mysterious. It is something we can't fully understand until we have experienced it. But for me, the mystery is exciting. We have no idea of how amazing heaven will be and this is why I think I see death in such a beautiful way.
   Well, the week has begun and now I must go and live it. But I can not help but ponder how glorious it will be when my soul, too, will fly away someday. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Cages We Build

  A hole to dig, a door to slam, a window to draw shut. The havens we create for ourselves where we run and hide from this world infected by frustration and cruelty, the ones where we refuse to hear or articulate the truth because of the fear that is whispered to us, can forever become our cages.
 It's funny how a little experiment can broaden into a deep personal connection.

 On a particularly quiet day, I set out to do a composite (a combining of photos) merely so I could get practice by doing so. I didn't want to do anything extreme, just a simple adding-of-fabric image that I had pictured (aha) in my head for a while. So I grabbed a scarf, opened the curtains, and sat down in my room with the hopes that I could indeed synchronize with the two-second timer and my flinging skills. 
   After many strange and hilarious photos of me looking a bit distracted with the scarf all over the place, I eventually honed in my timing and got a few photos of the scarf in the air.
   As I started to edit, I began to see a story develop that I had not intentionally put there. It was as if I was seeing a character grow chapter by chapter in a way that makes one feel as if they are not just reading about that character, but traveling with them on their adventure, feeling their emotions, thinking through their problems and overcoming them. And yet, as I added each element to this picture, I saw that I was not simply creating a plot and character in which to tell a fantasy, but that I was indeed that character on the adventure, getting consumed by the scarf that seemingly has locked the door to my mouth in its billowing folds of fabric, fully feeling the struggle of fighting against this confinement, and ultimately striving to overcome the conflict.
   Even with this concept in mind, I see the plot change and expand with each time I look at this photo. I don't think I have come to a full understanding of why I created this, or what exactly is the end of the story, but I think that is the most exciting thing about it. That I don't know the full extent of how this image speaks to my heart because with each new look at it, I find something new.
   I got lost in a story, yet found myself there.