* Please avert your eyes from Joel’s hair and facial growth — remnants of the dirty thirties party we went to and enough to reignite my morning sickness.
Sometimes photos make life look more beautiful than it really is. A viewfinder that carefully crops out a peripheral mess, a sharp lens, a good angle, a spectacular flare of sunshine illuminating your subject — it all has the ability to glorify moments, melding the great spectrum of emotions from bad to good into one polished freeze-frame of well-now-that’s-just-beautiful.
Words have the same ability to enhance a raw scene because the author describing a moment has free will in selecting adjectives. Reflection and selectivity can change a moment which was experienced differently than the one actually lived. Likewise, a sky that is overcast, gloomy and morose to one writer may be described by another as mysterious, cozy and inviting. And they both might be right.
Maybe it’s true. Maybe the efforts of my camera and my keyboard create a glorified reality.
But maybe they don’t.
My camera and my keyboard are priceless tools in guiding my perspective. And while some may view beautiful photos, poetic descriptions, or blogging as skewed representations of reality–and I get it, it’s selective writing, a pie slice of our lives–for me it’s another set of eyes, a different way to look at things.
While we may think that reality is what happens without the camera, and glorified reality is the product of a perfect photo captured within a tiny freeze-frame of life, perhaps it’s the other way around. Amid the not-so-pretty moments and rough-around-the-edges days, a viewfinder closes in on the glorious truth we might have missed had we not captured it in its fleeting moment.
I draw inspiration on a variety of perspectives and believe the raw, unpolished and exposed truths of misfortune are important and need to be heard. But framing sun flares and zooming in on hidden smiles allows me the privilege of noticing things in their full and astonishing form. It allows me to actually and for once stop and look at the beautiful and wonderful things which surround me. And so in my quest to document life, I aim to balance the two. I believe in the importance of sharing the raw stuff – the challenges of motherhood, the road out of drugs and booze and a hot pile of mess, the bravery we embody when we overcome sexual abuse, the laundry pile we face every single day, the loss and heartache of hardship. All these things don’t have a sharp lens to them, or a brilliant sun flare, or a built-in mechanism to crop a peripheral mess. However, in the spaces between these things, there is beauty so vivid it would knock you off your seat if you saw it in its full. The thing is, sometimes – a lot of the time – we just don’t see it.
I say this all because the past couple of days have been long and tedious and a little on the painful side. I’ve also received some sad news from a friend I just can’t stop thinking about, nor whispering WTF? in response to. But tonight, I am looking through pictures of these past few days. And I am reminded, these are not glorified moments amid a tarnished reality. These are real. This is what really happened. We really had a toes and tea party and we really smiled, her at her love of toe painting and drinking big people’s tea out of big people’s cups, and me at her happiness. (Strawberries and cream tea from T2 – caffeine-free and served slightly cooled for the littles equals total success. “More?” “More?”)
We really loved on our friends and had a throw-your-hands-in-the-air dance-off, or at least tried to because hello – jewelry.
And afterwards, we really indulged in a decadent high tea session.
We really had a bubble festival down at the beach late one afternoon and we really got detergent and sand stuck all over us and we really didn’t care. Other kids surrounded us, eager to join in with their, “Wow! Bubbles!” and their “Can I play too?”. Bubble blowers were passed around and new friends were made and their mamas smiled on.
All of it happened and I’m so glad I have pictures or I might have missed so much of it.
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner
And that pretty much sums up everything you’ll ever need to know.
Happy Wednesday, friends. What’s beautiful about your right-now?