The beauty of who we are is there is no one else that is like us.
The beauty of God is that He created each of us.
He knows each of us down to the tips of our fingertips and the tips of our toes.
I thought and I thought about this one. I’m single and sometimes bitter about that fact so I didn’t want to do anything romantic. Besides, I tend to find the mushy stuff too mushy and predictable. Romantic love is just not a part of my life at the moment. I thought about doing something about friendship, family, God, Jesus etc etc. As usual I wanted to express my Weekly Photo Challenge in a creative and meaningful way. As I was driving along one day I remembered this picture.
This is is little Sarah, my almost 4 year old housemate. We have a mutual adoration society between the two of us that makes my heart smile each and every single day. I captured this photo in one of those magical moments of a child’s life. She LOVES the beach, she is captivated by the sand, water and shells. I love this photo as I’ve captured her in a moment of pure joy and abandonment. A moment where she is loving life without restrictions.
Love for me at the moment is about learning to love my life. To be captivated and in love with who and what I have around me. I have so much love in my life – to give and receive.
One of my life goals, one of the most important ones, is to love life with joy and abandonment just like this moment in little Sarah’s life.
There was a day that I explored buildings that were old and worn. I studied Richmond Gaol in Tasmania, a little town that is one of the oldest I’ve ever visited. The gaol is one of the best preserved and oldest standing convict gaol’s in Australia. I discovered the section marked “Men’s Solitary”. People were wandering through other parts of the gaol, I could hear their voices carried by the wind. I stood in one of the solitary cells, studying the worn wood, the floor that heads would have lain on and the lock that held them in. I stood almost alone in these empty walls and yet they felt full. They hold memories within their enclosed walls that is beyond my comprehension.
In the walls of that cell, a man would have known hunger.
There has always been food on my plate.
Men would have known pain.
I have never known violence.
Men would have known fear.
I have always been safe.
The men that were locked here were rejected, criminilised and treated like animals for crimes. Some meagre.
I have always known love.
It was the lock that fascinated me. Simple, crude, strong. Men inside this solitary cell would have sat dreaming of the world beyond the lock. Dreaming of a life beyond the walls of their prison. As I studied the cell, snapping details of wood and locks, I wondered. Questions filled my mind from the simple to the deep.
How did they sleep on nothing but a wooden floor?
Did they have a bucket to do their business?
Did they talk to each other through the walls? (I guess not – it was solitary confinement after all).
What were their crimes? Stealing bread to survive? Violence amongst the other prisoners? Bushrangers? Murders? Rapes?
Did they come from the UK?
Were they born from other convicts born here a generation before?
What did they think about in the long hours (Weeks? Months? Years?) alone?
Did some give up and die on the inside?
Did others fight until the end?
In the darkness did they pray?
Alone in the darkness did they know the light of God?
Whatever the answers to all of my questions, I know one thing. Our land of Australia was built on the backs of these prisoners. Blood, sweat, tears, pain, years of labour to build and reap harvests. The life I know now is greatly due to the men and woman beyond this time and deep in our past. I can not comprehend much about the prisoners of Richmond Gaol, but I deeply honour and respect them all.
I’ve been so busy, both with the festive season and with life. My boss is away and I’m being bossy and doing extra shifts. The past few weeks I have felt as if I work, eat, sleep and shop and that’s it! In amongst all of this I have been pondering this delicate photo challenge. I have photos of flowers and a few other delicate things that reflect delicate but I just wasn’t satisfied with them. I wanted something that creatively reflected delicacy. I also wanted to use some photos I’d taken of Christmas ornaments recently. I was driving along one day and I had this revelation. Christmas is delicate in so many ways.
In the past Christmas has been incredibly delicate for me personally. I have often had to work on Christmas day and have even spent a Christmas or two alone. It is a time where I have felt intensely alone and lonely which has deepened the depression that plagues my life at times.
Christmas is a delicate time for our family – personalities, issues, long standing difficulties, the wants and needs of 10 adults and 4 kids and the other families involved is complicated. Christmas is often preceded by arguments amongst sisters about where, what, when, who doesn’t love who, who travels most… the list goes on…. Delicate hearts and minds are pushed and prodded and wrestle with one another. No one wins in the end.
This year, in my own delicate state, I am trying to focus on Christmas. For some that means family. For me, it means remembering why we celebrate Christmas and finding the joy and magic of Christmas that I once knew as a child. My heart smiles as I say that I have found some of it! Christmas lights, the Melbourne Town Hall display, Carols, the awe struck faces of Children, the generosity and love of friends around me and reminding myself to count my many blessings even when the negativity within tells me that I have nothing and no-one. I am not perfect, I still make choices that are in a word – stupid. I struggle each and every day to find joy, it is there but blinkers blind me from the truth.
Finally, I remember the delicate nature of Christ’s beginning as a man. He came for us beginning as a babe in Mary’s womb and then a fragile, tiny newborn. My good friend and house mate wrote a beautiful article on Christ as a baby – read it here
God bless you all during this Christmas season. If anyone is struggling with Christmas, feel free to comment or email me privately.
This was a hard one as I am a bit slow. Intelligent yes, a tad slow nonetheless. You see, I look back into my past and it’s hard to see the moments that changed my life, my thinking, how I work, how I process stuff. This could also be my foggy memory interfering. I did just read somewhere the other day that once you turn 30, your brain cells start dying off. If the internet says so it must be true. (Note to self: Must remember to google products/foods to increase brain power).
I digress, where was I. Oh yes, moments. There was a moment where my world came tumbling down around me, and I remember that vividly. The moment that a close friend and foster aunt died in a car accident. It was 3 weeks before my 21st birthday and I’d spoken to her on the phone a couple of days before. I remember literally collapsing as a friend arrived to go shopping. It was like the movies.
After that I lost faith in life, in hope, and motivation in most things. I dropped out of uni, I became withdrawn and depressed. I became a shadow of myself. This moment, while it deeply changed me, also brought to the surface long hidden brokenness.
Since then, just over a decade ago, it’s been a long climb, sometimes a sprint, sometimes a leisurely stroll. The most profound moments that have spurred me on has been the Aunty Sair Bear ones.
Children of sisters, brother and friend’s coming into this world. For these little ones I want to be a better person. Each moment that I discovered I was to be an aunty again, whether biological or not, overflowed with joy. The birth of each of them the most exciting moments in my life. I have become determined to walk through this life more like Christ, with more love, more grace and more whole. If I can simply be all that God created me to be, to keep putting the pieces of my life together, I will be the best aunty that I possibly can be. A place of fun, care, safety, nurturing and love in the midst of a chaotic world.
My little people teach me so much in this world. Their sometimes profound words and natural intuitiveness to people is awe inspiring. Their natural and easy giving of love teaches me how I want to be in love with people. I treasure the moments that I have with them, the giving of their love, their grins, laughter, tears, whines, bossiness, cups of tea, babycino’s, songs and ordinary vegemite toast moments.
The best moments of all are the random and unprovoked outbursts of “I love you” that comes from their whole hearts.
I currently have 3 nieces, 1 nephew and 2 “nephews” and 1 “niece”, it is an honor and blessing to be walking through life by their side.
It’s hard to write a letter to you. I mean, you’re 20 years older and assumingly wiser, stronger and better.
These then are my simple words to you my dear friend…
I hope that through the wind and storms of life your footsteps have remained strong and sure. That your heart continues to love radically. That your heart continues to fill and overflow with your Saviour’s radical love. I hope that each person that encounters you knows and experiences love deeply.
My dear one, if life has left you walled off and scared, look deep inside. Do not feel ashamed. I have known struggles and despite the darkness that threatens to overwhelm, there is always a spark. Look deep, find the spark and allow it to glow and burn once again. You are created for love, to be loved and to love.
However this letter finds you, continue to put one foot in front of the other.
Your 32 year old self.
p.s read and study Isaiah 43 and the Song of Songs. Yep, all of it.