Sunday, January 9, 2011

Preparing Room

Jet lag.  I've been exhausted for days.  I've been going to bed at 7 or so in the evening, then sleeping like a rock until about 2:30 AM.  For no reason I can imagine, this is my magic hour of awakeness.  I'll fall asleep again at around 5. 

Thursday morning I heard a few planes fly over our house en route to the airport (a sound I typically tune out entirely).  I shuddered involuntarily and my stomach tied in a knot.  True story.  I'd like to not board another plane for a little while.  Get some distance from air travel.

But I'll go back.  And all that air time will be a small price to pay.

Long before I knew I was going to Zambia, I felt God press this on my heart.  It took me a little while to follow through and agree.  But almost immediately I felt peace, and some freedom.

Now as I enter a new year,  my heart has confidence, and I'm so glad I followed through.  Like the photograph above, I'm starting to see some fruit.

God was preparing room for Zambia.

The longer I had my business, the more I knew what I really cared about.  I loved giving families a good experience, keeping memories for them, but typical portrait photography did not get my fire going- though the experience and income were very valuable.  The more I was in it, the more photographer friends I had, I knew I was going in another direction.  I'd see their passion for Photoshop tricks and perfect lighting and making things look beyond normal to something perfected- and this is great photography (and when you need it, Photoshop is a jewel), and it's something people very much want.  But I marveled at their joy in it- because that's not at all what I wanted to do with my cameras and glass. 
I never could be where I am without my experience in a traditional portraiture business- I prize that intense time of learning from mistakes and successes very much. 
But it was more of a doorway than a calling.

I get all lit up over straight out of camera photojournalism- raw, true, gritty, honest, authentic, available and natural light only.  Everything you see is real.  Nothing manufactured- the world and it's people as they are.  I get lost in National Geographic.  I care very much about creating photographs that matter.  That tell a story.  That tell it honestly.

I get very passionate about sharing any knowledge I have with others who want to learn.  My passion isn't so much to take photographs for other people to enjoy, but to teach and empower them to do it for themselves-  teaching them to see the world creatively and to have the skills to capture that vision with a camera.  This is what makes me tick.  Sharing it is what makes my heart beat faster.

Zambia was a collision of it all.  My heart was cut and my creative joy was let loose. 

This experience with Poetice combines a passion for sharing the full life of Christ, a passion for speaking into the lives of the fatherless and the widow and empowering their own voices, and a passion for lighting a fire of creativity that provides light and life in the darkest of places.

In Zambia, everything was new- but I felt very much at home there.  And over and over again I saw that it's a place Jim is uniquely gifted for as well- I fell in love with the people of Zambia- and I know when Jim goes, he will too.

Because this wasn't a once in a lifetime experience.  It was a beginning. 

This first experience cut me in half.  And now, all I see is all the work yet to be done. I am not riding a post-trip romantic high.  I'm living in reality.  But I'm awake to a greater vision and humbly, I think I'm a part of it.

I can do a lot of work from here, helping to create and implement a photography program for youth in Zambia- even sending and teaching lessons thanks to technology.  And I hope very much to return to teach hands-on much, much more than I was able on this short trip.  As I walked through the places these youth call home, I was overcome by the beauty everywhere.  I have a huge fire in my heart to empower students there to see the world as art- to harness the power of light and shadow, to see with perspective, scale, color, senses, and emotion- and to capture it in photographs that communicate truth to the world.

My time in Zambia has altered me.  The people welcomed me in, and floored me with their love and compassion.  I'd love very much to join with them in the work God is doing. 

I saw the work of the thief everywhere in death and disease and brokenness-
 but always, always, always there was fruit and hope.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
-John 10:10

1 comment:

Natalie said...

This is a very exciting work God has begun in and through you.

One of my favorite scriptures, II Corinthians 3:17-20 says (my paraphrase) "Now the Lord is the spirit and where His spirit is there is freedom. And now you, with unveiled face, have begun to contemplate His glory and are being transformed into His image with always-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord."

With face unveiled and eyes now open - I see this glory reflected in you.

Much love on your journey -