Hello friends! And, Happy Friday!
It has been exactly one month today since I made my last blog post. It was not an intentional hiatus from blogging and social media. In fact, it came on overnight and was, at first, a subconscious decision. For so many reasons I have been grappling with what to say and how to say it. The imbalance of fear and faith, joy and heartbreak have been far too much for me to jump on here and share in a light-hearted mode. Has anyone else been there? For a bit, I wasn’t certain that moments of joy were appropriate.
My family lives a pretty simple life. Sometimes I have regretted that. Or, at least, I have questioned it. I have wondered if our kids would miss big life things or enter into adulthood without the proper life experiences. But, through the onset of the virus and national chaos our lifestyle has served us well in many areas. It has not, however, sheltered anyone from the heartbreak of financial failure and human suffering all around us. My family has needed time for introspection. We have needed time for difficult conversations. We have needed time to seek solutions within our reach. And among each of those things, it did not feel comfortable for me to write about JOY here on the internet.
Waves of Change
The movement in this current environment is moment to moment. The mental and emotional energy of our environment seems to fluctuate incessantly. For me, sometimes those energies pour over me slowly. Other times, they come crashing down like large waves. But, one, hugely important piece of life that has remained steadfast is Connection. Oh, wait. What?! Connection? Yes.
As a photographer, for the past 13 years I have documented life moments. I have documented expecting parents, baby’s first breath, 13th birthday parties, Family Reunions, Vacations, 8th Grade Formal, High School Prom & Graduation, Proposals, Engagements, Weddings, a toddler’s first time to put their toes in the expansive oceans, messy faces covered in s’mores, kids chasing fireflies, the buying and selling of homes, 50th wedding anniversaries, memorials of life after a sudden loss of a loved one, the bringing home of children adopted from out of this country, the first day of school, sports portraits, new puppies, and all types of religious moments. And, you know what?
Life Moments have not stopped.
Life moments look different than they did 6 months ago. That fact is unarguable. But, what is arguable is that the changes are all negative.
Back to Connection
Even to this Enneagram 7 that is the master at reframing most any situation to find the positive (Side note on Self-Discovery:: If you haven’t studied about the enneagram, I would recommend Ian Cron’s The Road Back to You. Message me if you want more info.) Ummm, of yes. Here I am… Even to someone who is an optimist to a fault, there is no reframing that can make good out of many of the circumstances through which we are all walking. But, here is one incredibly positive outcome. And, it is powerful.
Through my months of watching, reflecting, communicating to my children and friends, evaluating, and seeking the path that our family will take during these times, one thing has become loudly evident:: All of the life moments that I have had the experiences of capturing with my camera are all Connection-Based. Each of these moments is the connection between two energies: people, nature, love, excitement, sadness, joy, anger, anticipation, peace, fear, hope. I’m sure you could think of a few more.
But, what has leapt out at me so vividly is that these things have not been put on hold, they have not been quarantined, they have not been cancelled. These energies are not at risk. They may be taking a different form, but they are more present than ever.
So, Here We Are… Together
I was excited a few weeks ago to announce that I was back to work, capturing life moments. And since that announcement it has been a whirl-wind of connection, friends. I am back to share these Joys with you. I am not turning a blind-eye to the world around us. We are simply moving forward with the Joys, big and small, that create connections. We are looking at this new space and celebrating the moments that will not go away.
My family continues to pour prayer for peace over all nations and peoples. We are practicing gratitude in Faith and human responsibility. And, we are filling our hearts with life moments. Because, Joy has its place here. Irrespective of anything else…
Joy Belongs Here. Joy belongs to you.
I am here to share with you, friends. And, I am looking forward to time with you as we walk this uncharted journey together.
With Grit & Grace,
Westland Farms Studio