Thursday, November 14, 2013

{Thankful Thursday | 11.14.13} Winter

I am not a fan of winter - the bitter cold. The bone chilling winds that pass right through you. The numb fingers. The slumber of green. But each season brings a change. Each of them teach me something different. Each important. Even... winter.

Some seasons seem to last forever though. Even though you are dying for a change of scenery. Yearning for the sun again. Yearning for the heat. The thaw and renewal. The basking in it.

I try to remind myself that I need to be true to myself. Be real. It is hard for a professional to know sometimes what to share and what to not share. It's often the route of... I run a business.. I need to be a machine - or - I am a real person, with real struggles and a real life.. I need to be a catalyst for someone else who is also struggling. Don't cross lines, just walk the line. But... If I can't be real then who am I? I prefer real people over machines. I think we all do. And I think if more people were real? Less people would feel like machines. Relativity breeds encouragement and love. Courage breeds strength and tenacity.

There is a way to be real and not have to say it all. There is a certain respect I have for those who vulnerably put enough cards on the table - not all but enough - that I know where they are, I know the hand they've been dealt and I know - or think I know how they will play that hand. I respect those people. I don't have to guess at a poker face because they're real enough to have showed me with their own eyes and hands what their heart says.

So laying a few cards on the table...
Every day for a year I woke up sad. My dream had died. And the truth is - it died so long ago. I was just trying to hold on to it - hoping it would turn around, come back full circle. But every year that I grasped onto it... I got further and further away from that ever happening. It just took a long time for me to see it. I photograph dreams for a living. And yet one of mine had failed.

This dream lost broke my heart.  And I have had more than a few heartbreaks in life. 
But haven't we all?

We aren't guaranteed that life will be perfect. Rather we are guaranteed that life will be hard at times. That we will face obstacles and struggles. We are also guaranteed an OPTION to become stronger because of those struggles... because of those lost dreams.

Here's what I know - this season was hard. This winter - of waiting for the snow around my heart to melt  - seemed to last many winters. I questioned why my dream was so out of reach. Why couldn't things have been different for me. Every morning was a realization that my life wasn't what I wanted it to be, nor could I make it what I wanted it to be. And it had been that way for so many years - but this was the fall out of that realization. I buried myself in my kids and work during this season - with the love and support of others, I made it through. With His love I made it through. You never know how strong you are until it's the only choice you truly have. All winter long, He counted my tears.

Psalm 56:8 NLT
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all of my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

I don't wake up sad anymore. 

Starting to see the sun again... Heading into winter in Indiana, but I'm heading into spring in Joanne.

Thankful for this season. It was a long winter but I've been growing. Learning. Stretching.
Thankful for a job that keeps me motivated. Creative. Challenged. So busy.
Thankful for love. I still believe in it. You MUST believe in it in order to be good at capturing it.
Thankful for dreams. Even the ones that we lose. What is life without our dreams. Even broken dreams have something to teach us - for what is broken becomes a lesson. And even if it's painful, I never want to stop learning. When I have stopped learning, I am no longer useful here. Part of helping others and being useful is teaching them what you've learned. It's also.. being real about your  winters.

I used to wonder - laying in bed - grateful for my kids, my house, my job - but laying there brokenhearted in disbelief that this is what life handed me in exchange for the one dream I wanted most ... how many more days will I wake up sad like this? Will this last forever? Get out of bed Jo. Start your day. Keep your spirits up. Press on. Seasons change and winter doesn't last forever.

It happens without you even knowing it. One day the sun makes its way back to your face... And you feel the warmth and light embrace you like a long lost love.

Did you read that part above... ? I don't wake up sad anymore.