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]
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.”
I remember being given some gift of welcome, while coming off the plane, but I am unsure what it was. I felt uncomfortable with the attention I was receiving, so I slipped away to a quiet corner. I looked at the newspaper in my hand, and there was
a story about a man in a village just outside of a war zone in the Middle East, whom lived with his mother running a small shop to support the locals—a prominent French family, in fact. The story said that he had recently proclaimed that he had met the woman he had waited his whole life to meet, in a chance encounter in the midst of a military scuffle. The story went on to describe how the woman persistently knocked on the shop door, and animatedly portrayed the coming conflict. And that he, still in his room, could see her through the door, and knew that there was something special about her. The article gave contact information how to contact this man with information about woman.
I didn’t know how to respond, he was charming, but older. His hair was all gray, but his mother didn’t look that old, so I figured perhaps it was just premature graying. I did nothing in that moment, and wanted to just think about things more.
Time passed, I am not sure if it was an hour or a month, or more…as time is a funny thing in dreams. However, whatever my original mission or responsibility had been there, called of me to visit once more. I went back to visit the shop owner and her son. While she went to prepare tea, the son said, in a shaking nervous voice, “you know you stole my heart, right?” I nodded shyly, as his mother returned into the room.
Again, time passed, I finished my job and had returned to the US, when I went to log on to facebook. A facebook ad popped across my news feed, you could buy and send “red hearts” (like valentine cards) to your loved ones, but it said that the man from the shop had designed the app to find and offer “red hearts” to his sweetheart.
It was then, that he won….and it was then that I woke up.
Lesson 1 & 2: When you find what you love seek after it & when the road is blocked, find a detour.
First a newspaper article, an in person confession, and an online app. This man was seeking to find that which he loved. When one method proved unsuccessful, he tried another.
I don’t know what it is that you’re hoping to accomplish in life right now. What is your dream? The thing that you love? Are you chasing after it? What steps do you need to make today, to get closer to it being part of your life tomorrow?
I recently read this quote, “The person who is waiting for something to turn up might start with their shirt sleeves.” — Garth Henrichs
It sounds a bit harsh, at first, but it is true. There’s always some small aspect you can work on toward your dream, even if research is all you can do right now, it is something. Maybe it is defining what that dream will look like, so you’ll be able to know if you are getting close to that goal.
And when the path you take get’s blocked or doesn’t have the results you had hoped for, sometimes you will need to try another method.
“When I was young, I observed that nine out of 10 things I did were failures. So I did 10 times more work.” — George Bernard Shaw
Are you feeling discouraged because your path has been blocked, time after time? I have to be honest, I get discouraged when this happens too. I have often even stopped the pursuit after such obstacles…until a new idea comes to mind. And then, if the original pursuit is important enough to me, I’m willing to try and try again.
And look how the dream ended. He won. His persistence paid off.
So keep trying…and I’d love to hear stories of your successes, and creative solutions to the obstacles you’ve faced.
Today was a day of questing. Questing toward where I want to be. What I want to do…and what it is I hope to have to share.
I searched for a documentary to watch (still searching), I watched TED talks, I tagged people on Twitter to ask about #1000smallways. I watched training videos. I started a new facebook group for creative philanthropy. I edited photos, and all the time I thought of you.
How can I help you?
What is it, that YOU, my readers want and need? Is there a way that while I journey that I can help you get where you are going as well? Please, leave me messages at the end. Tell me where you are on your creative, career, and/or philanthropic journey. Let me know where you are stuck.
A Thousand Small Ways to Change the World #003
Storybook Envelopes & Letters to Children
I came up with this idea after seeing someone else make an envelope from a thrift store children’s book. I thought, “how neat would it be to write a letter to encourage a child and send it in a fun envelope.” So, I visited the thrift store, bought a lot of children’s books for about $0.50 each, and began making envelopes. I now have well over 100. Now, if and when I decide I want to write a letter and send it off in a fun envelope, I have them ready. This would be a great way to give cards to kids in a children’s hospital–or if you are a teacher or know teachers, you could ask for topics that some of the kids could use encouragement on. Then write letters about those topics, give them to the teacher, and let them give the letters to the students whom would benefit most from the message. There are many possible uses for these envelopes, and I hope that some of you will give them a try and tell me how you use them in the #1000smallways challenge.
Do you have a child you’d like me to send a letter to? Let me know! I have so many of these, but not a lot of stamps. So, for the first 10 people who contact me, I will ship these out.
Envelope Template (Here is a template or open an envelope and use it)
Picture Book / Cute Paper
Directions: Trace template or simply cut around it, glue side flaps and bottom into place. Use envelopes to brighten someone’s day.
I’m waking up this morning sensing a heaviness that I am familiar with, and perhaps you are too. It is grief, I have learned to call it by name, even if it doesn’t fit the packaged description of grief. It is.
I feel homesick for a home I’ve never had. I miss my future family, which I’ve never met. I miss the dream I had for my life when I was 20 and in undergrad. I anticipated being married and done having children by 30. Here I am, 32, single, childless, and living in a house that is not the home I’ve dreamed of.
But I’m ok. See, this isn’t a tale of my woes, but a post giving you permission to grieve what you haven’t had but still lost. Was it a child that hasn’t come into your life as you had hoped and dreamed? A goal left unfulfilled? Whatever plans you have had, that you’ve been forced to let go of and lay aside–those are losses too. So, please allow yourself to grieve them, but don’t get stuck there.
After a moment of accepting that it is grief, riding its wave of emotion, step back out into the life you do have. There is beauty in the most unexpected places. Last night a storm came through, knocking down a number of small branches and a canopy tent in my yard. I have to go work on cleaning up the mess, but already, from inside the house I can see the beauty too. Sun caught in raindrop, hanging from the needles of the pine outside my window. And not only am I going to feast on that beauty with my eyes, I am going to go outside in search of more.
My point is this, that grief must not be ignored. It doesn’t always look the way we expect it to, nor come from the sources we normally associate it with, but that doesn’t change that it is grief. Acknowledge it, grieve it, but don’t forget that there is still beauty. That each day you can work on getting one step closer to who you want to be, and what kind of life you want to live (though sometimes, it takes thinking outside of the box to determine how to redefine your dream when doors are closed).
The thing to remember is that no storms last forever, and not only is there beauty after the storm, many are able to find beauty within the storm.
To read my previous thoughts on this topic pleaseclick here.
Do you know of a story I should read, or do you have a concern you’d like me to respond to?
Send me a message with either the link to an article or a message explaining the situation and person that you’d like me to write an encouraging letter to. Please do so without giving the person’s personal information–pseudonyms should be used in place of actual names.