I am sorry to inform you that the art that I create with you appears to be subpar. These images are ignored, or if they are appreciated, individuals expect to receive them for free. Knowing that I put my heart, experience, and education and significant financial investments into the photo-taking process, my only conclusion can be that you are holding me back.
Now, don’t get me wrong. You are a perfectly good camera. I love you with my whole heart, but there is something about the union of you and me, that fails to create beautiful respectable art. I know I push your buttons, but that’s how our relationship works, and the only way we can create art. I’ve tried my hardest, creating blogs and Facebook pages to display our creations, but they fall upon an unappreciative audience.
For these reasons, I’m giving you an ultimatum. Either we figure this out together and create beautiful art that has impact, or I’m going to have to let you go. I am considering my prospects with Pen, as perhaps writing is the path I should take to creating art. This is your chance to prove me wrong. So, please….prove me wrong.
You have my word that I will be trying to make this work, the ball in in your court now. Remember, it might be good to give me a gift when you try to woo me back. I have given you at least 6 lenses over the years, and from you I’ve received no more than $100 total from various small gifts of print sales. I do not mean to sound rude, but I need to know that I am loved too.
(the one who holds your hand and pushes your buttons)
Ps. I will be eagerly awaiting your response, and hopefully anticipating our next long walk on the beach at sunset. I do love you, dear Camera. I have included some our our images here to remind you of where we’ve been and what we’ve created together in the past.
Property of Rebecca Turk [prints available for sale upon request]
Beneath the still, reflective waters,
exists a world, most know nothing of.
The secrets, of both pain and joy,
are entrusted to but a few.
So, to learn of these hidden truths,
I will watch with indefinite pause.
You, oh silent waters, of quiet reserve,
are worth being heard.
You, oh still waters, so pristine,
deserve to be seen.
I rounded the corner into the next aisle when I spotted them. Miniature Orchids. I know I do not need them, however I found myself going through the box to find the best of the lot. While I was there, I noticed an employee out of the corner of my eye. He was pushing a large cart stacked 3 boxes high of canned foods and other assorted inventory.
I went back to looking at the plants. Then, I realized he was just standing there, waiting. I made eye-contact with an inquiring expression on my face. To which he responded, “I’m trying to figure out how to get through here.” You see, the display of plants was in the middle of the aisle.
“Oh,” I said as I searched for a solution, “…hmm, can we just move this whole display?” I started to pull the display toward me, as he pushed it from the other side.
He navigated the cart through, then stopped, turning toward me and making eye-contact, he said “team work…it sure makes things easier..” then he closed by thanking me and saying “you’re such a sweetheart.” I smiled a bit uncomfortable, nodded…I may even have even said thank you, as I always pick the wrong responses to compliments, and as I walked away, I laughed a little, I’m not from the south, so getting called a sweetheart isn’t something I’m used to, especially when the person appears to be younger than I.
I have to admit, I started to pat myself on the back as I walked away. If I ended here, you’d think this story was about me, but it isn’t.
This story is about that young man. I’m not sure what position he had at the store, what title he held or didn’t hold, but I realized that if I had a business, I would hire this guy in a second, because he has incredible leadership skills. After he said that, I felt compelled to help him move the next display out of the way (however, by the time I reached it, he had moved it). I felt valued, and like my 5 second effort to slide the display out of the way had been some grand gesture.
Not only did he have the skills to make people motivated to work and to make them feel valued, but he was fully engaged in his job, both on the level of getting the products out on the floor, but stopping to help customers and having friendly conversations, as I observed while I finished my shopping.
I went in the store, with the intention of just getting myself a rice pudding, but came out with a few lessons. I caught myself when I was going to give myself too much credit, and realized that when you take a moment of gratitude and look on the other side of it, you find a story about someone other than yourself. I learned a few tips on how to be a leader others would be happy to follow.
A Thousand Small Ways #1000smallways
While I have provided you with examples in the above story of a small way that can make a big difference, I will share another small way. Today, I’m thinking of my other online friends, whom have websites, blogs, groups, or causes. Can you reach out to 5 of them today to let them know they are appreciated. Leave a comment, a like, share a post. In this way they will know that there are actually people reading and appreciating what they have to offer. You never know, you may keep someone from giving up doing what they are doing.
Update on Goals:
I have decided my goal for December is to finish up “Mitt the Misfit Fox,” and work on creating arts and crafts around the theme of love, kindness, and friendship.
I made several pieces, some are only half-way done (I wanted to scan them, add digital effects, and then print them. However, the scanner had other plans, namely it planned on not working).
These two pieces are the quote “Love Does.” I just finished reading a book by that title by Bob Goff, and I have often reminded people that love is a verb, so put it into action.
I watched “I am” today, and while some of the newer, more intellectual or simply unfamiliar thoughts were like a fog or mist that blew across the landscape of my mind, a few droplets of even these watered the earth. On the whole though, the documentary stirred up such a resounding voice of “let’s go” and “let’s love” that I found myself bracing myself against my wall, as if I had just suffered some unseen blow for which I had braced myself against, while at the same time my grasp on the wall had a launching direction, as if a horse in my lane, waiting for the gates to open.
You see, I have found myself more than 6 months deep in unemployment, and while my financial resources are limited, my time resource has expanded. While I still seek employment, I am seeking out ways to love the world, to do little things that create change. I’ve started blogging about #1000smallways. A journey I am on, and hope to invite others on, to find a thousand small ways to change the world. Right now, those small ways are so very small indeed, but they are drops in an ocean, and I am just waiting to reach the critical mass—the tipping point, where #1000smallways can precipitate a ripple across the ocean that becomes a wave on a thirsty shore.
I apologize if my language is too poetic or metaphoric, but this is the language that spills out when passions have been awaken. I heard the language of my soul spoken, and the rejoicing of “I’m not alone” has taken over. I, too, believe that love is the next step—and every step after that, that we must take to reach change. While watching the film, I wrote a thought that came to mind:
Love is the most piercing weapon, which renders healing wherever it is wielded. (So fight, my friends. Fight with love and heal the world.)
I am a Christian, and am so grieved when others point out that they have left Christianity because of the lack of love, that they were wounded by people. If they really considered what being Christian is (being a Christ follower/Christ-like) and that God is love—how can they be anything but loving? But at the same time, I realize that we live in a world where we are told competition is normal…that being right and winning is more valuable than loving. I realize that I too am the problem, that I too fail. I only hope that with each step forward, I become less prone to selfishness and more prone to love as my reaction to all decision making.
I don’t know what my next step is, in life, but I hope that it will be toward pouring more love into the world. I have often told friends, “I wish I knew how to pour love into the wound.” And that is the quest I am on.
Today is all about you. I’ve been telling you about some of the small ways I have discovered, but today I ask you to come up with a small way. Share it with the hashtag #1000smallways. Also, please don’t forget to put your small way into action and share it with us all. I cannot wait to hear your stories and how they will reveal your heart and passion. Go be a positive drop in the ocean. Today is your day (and every day is “today).
Motivational thoughts and paraphrased quotes from the documentary:
Our basic strongest instinct is for compassion, empathy, and cooperation.
What people need to know to recognize their own power that every day acts, and small acts, can build up over time into a great movement.
The sea is really only drops of water that have come together.
God says, you know what? I don’t have anyone else but you.
(Paraphrase of Desmond Tutu in I Am)
And remember, whatever positive thing you do, it does matter and I can make a difference, so don’t give up. You may want to look for people with similar passions and get together to do some good.
You’re not invisible. We’ve seen your sad eyes. Pain just has a funny way of making others uncomfortable. It isn’t that they don’t care about you. They don’t know what to do, nor what words to speak. It makes them squirm. It makes many flee. They are not fleeing you. You’re still loved, still valued, still important. I can’t say that I never look away myself, but I’m determined to learn to look pain in the eye…and through my experience, I hope to learn a thing or two to share with others that will help them stick by you, even in your pain. So, hang on, and wait with me, as I journey to see what I can learn. Teach me. Help me learn so that I can teach. I know pain is different for each, like a snowflake, but just as each snowflake is different, snow, in general, has many shared properties. Teach me both the details of your snowflake of pain, and of pain in general.
Don’t let yourself despair in discouragement, I promise you that history shows that even the longest, strongest, most fierce storm has come to an end, and I hope through my learning and listening, I learn tips to share with you on how to make things beautiful after the storm.
2. Oh I realize Its hard to take courage
Oh, trust me. I know. I know my words may sound good, but you’re asking yourself “but how?” How do I keep myself from despairing? How do I get out of the quicksand? To which, I have to say… I don’t know. I don’t know where you’re stuck, and I don’t know what wind of change will blow through your life bringing the hope you need. I don’t know your beliefs. I don’t know your worldview, so I don’t know how you find meaning in things. I, personally, understand my world through the eyes of a Christian who knows there is a war being fought. Good and Evil, free choice and irresponsibility. Sadly, it wouldn’t be fair nor just to force everyone to live according to our shared view of what the kindest, best, most responsible life would be….so we endure, and do the best to create a better world around us.
But I do know you, your life is worth fighting through the difficulties for. You are enough to have a meaningful place in this world and to fill it as only you can. And I for one would love to watch you blossom and bloom.
3. In a world full of people You can lose sight of it all
I know that it’s hard to face people when you’re harboring the secret of pain. You feel like you don’t fit in, and are either afraid it shows which makes you feel vulnerable…and/or you wish someone saw…truly saw you. Someone who wouldn’t be made uncomfortable by the pain, and who would still see you through it and would want to spend time with you. For, your beauty is still there, just as the sun still shines while the storm rages. You may have even forgotten this, but yet you hope that someone else will see it there, and value you and love you, and stay beside you…unafraid.
It’s hard to remember what hope looks like, when your horizon is dark. But as I once told a friend, I see the horizon. I will keep my eyes there, and share what I see. If you need a reminder of what hope looks like, I will do my best to describe it in detail. I’m not giving up on you.
4. And the darkness inside you Can make you feel so small
I want to speak to the voice inside you, telling you that you’re insignificant, incapable, worthless, powerless, and just too small to matter or make a difference. To this I say, shhhhh. Silence. You have nothing of value to say.
This heart, whom you are belittling, condemning, judging has so much to offer, that you will never know of. You, ugly voice, are blind to light and beauty, you fear it. So you do everything in your strength to eliminate it, hide it, destroy it. But all the darkness in the world cannot change the fact that there is beauty there, and only light is needed to see it. So, I will work to put a crack in the darkness, so that the light can flood in revealing the truth I know. That there is beauty there. Strength. Courage. That this person can make a significant change in their world and the world around them. That they are more powerful than you’ve lead them to believe all these years. So hush, negative voice. You have no place here. Hope and love and courage will be spoken here.
Reader, your heart is beautiful. Scarred and wounded as it might be, there is beauty there. With time and healing, you too will be able to see it.
I’ll keep my eyes on the horizon, sharing the hope that I see, sharing the paths to a different life that I see, finding small ways that you can make a different and sharing those as well. And hopefully, in all of that, you find your way and voice, and can see hope on the horizon on your own.
A Thousand Small Ways #020
This one is a bit abstract, but I want to challenge those of you reading this to decide to not let the discomfort of other people’s pain make you flee. Be a student of life, and learn from your discomfort so that next time you encounter it, you can stand a little stronger. The message of love this will offer those who are suffering, is immeasurable.
“When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”