The Ignored Seen | The Forgotten Found
I’m coming out of my first stage of grief. This could get a little bit ugly. While obviously denial isn’t healthy, it isn’t messy either, and it’s a charity to everyone else not directly effected by your loss. As long as you are in denial, no one has to deal with your reactions. Thus the fair warning. The other three stages that precede acceptance are not so calm in nature.
This summer on my three-month journey, I lost something I have been silently lamenting. Losing things is far from abnormal for me. When you are living out of a bag and moving from place to place as often as we were, the occasional forgotten item was bound to be left hanging on the line to dry, or dropped from where it was carelessly pocketed. But the annoyance of having one less shirt or a hundred fewer rupees can’t compare to what it feels like losing the thing you wouldn’t want to lose above everything else just three days before going home.
Somewhere, in some London airport terminal, someone stumbled upon my abandoned travel companion. A Canon Rebel T3 with a 64G SD card holding two months worth of memories.
Thank you, everyone, whose heart just caved in a little bit for me. I’ve actually avoided this loss as a subject because I have been extremely successful in not thinking about it and caring on as usual. I just pretend I never had the pictures and dodge feelings of frustration and regret. But just last night there was a crack in my defenses. I had one of those thoughts I usually push away try and creep up on me and make me reminisce the moments I had paused to capture. Before I could shove the sense of discouragement off the table, The Lord’s voice slipped into the conversation.
” Now you see how I feel. “
*cue transition from denial to anger:
You’re mad? I asked The Lord. You’re discouraged and frustrated? Well, maybe you could have reminded me to pick up my camera before my next flight. Maybe you could have aided it on its way to lost and found and had the department respond to my inquisition. You keep telling me that your heart is to tell the untold stories of people around the world. Countless times you have given me vision for using creativity to make a difference in people’s lives. For stirring hearts and propelling movement. For honoring the overlooked and reaching into the unknown. You insist that this is on your heart, but my efforts seem to endlessly hit disappointments.
This morning I woke up to a friendly reminder from Facebook that it was exactly two years ago today that I started writing a book. A book I strongly felt The Lord was telling me two write. It took me about four months to get through my initial rough draft. Since then, I’ve added stories, done several of my own revisions and had it lightly combed by one reviewer. I knew going into this project that it wasn’t the type of thing that happens overnight. But for about a year now, the manuscript has gone nearly untouched as multiple options for editing have fallen through.
I’ve subconsciously been allowing my frustration to accumulate a list of discouragements. My book has stagnated, I lost all of my photo and video I was going to publish. I lost my camera. My laptop is on its last leg. I’ve never really been satisfied with the way my website looks, and I’m not even sure people read blogs anymore. Those are the messy inward thoughts I warned you about. I feel discouraged and like I really really wish there was someone I could blame. Other dreams I’ve seen The Lord just drop into my lap. But this one seems to continually hit roadblocks. Roadblocks that make me wonder if this isn’t really something I should pursue. Roadblocks that have led me to “lay this down” over and over again.
The only problem is that when I lay it down, I quickly hear a confirming “yes” from The Lord to go ahead with it. Every time I put it “back in His hands,” The Lord cups His hands over mine. I’ve wanted to be a writer since before I knew how to write. My love for storytelling has grown every time a story has impacted my life. This passion doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. But neither do I.
These are the options I find myself with: Denial. Retreat. Fight. Or in other words, pretending there is no battle, giving up on the battle, or fighting the battle. I wonder how many God-given dreams have not been realized because the first two options were spiritualized. We call denial faith. Faith that God will make the wall in front of us crumble instead of just using the rope slung from the other side to climb up and over. We call giving up surrender and place the responsibility of our commission back on the commissioner. We very rarely call what God has spoken over our lives a promise and commit ourselves to fighting the resistance with all of our strength.
Last night I imagined several faces I had been intentional in capturing with my lens and was met by a heavy heart and an interruption to my thoughts. “Now you know how I feel,” The Lord spoke to me. Now I can’t show the world the beauty that I found in the Himalayas and on the Ganges river. Now, these stories will never be told. If I had never met these people, seen their faces, and taken their photo, I wouldn’t feel this sense of loss. The Lord knows His lost ones with an intimacy that does not afford him the option of denial. As I grieve a few lost stories, a few beauties that will go unseen, a few tragedies that will go un-noticed, The Lord is grieving millions. Millions of people who He created and who will, like my pictures, go unacknowledged by the world. The Lord does not have the leisure of being ignorant to what is going on in the world and He can not rely on someone else to produce a solution. He only has two options. He can give up on them retreat, pretend there is no battle, or He can fight.
I know which option He choose when it came to me. I know that at times where I would have given up on me, He kept pursuing and fighting for me. I threw up roadblock after roadblock between His love. I tried to lose myself completely. And still He came after me. He came after me and He won me. Maybe instead of continually ignoring or laying down the things He has spoken to me, I could start fighting for the hopes He laid, on this heart He fought for.
I could start fighting for the ignored to be seen, and the forgotten found.