portrait of a life: free

The presence of a life is a complex and multi-faceted thing, so full of tiny moving pieces that come together in a masterpiece, a story, a portrait.

In the daily, we see only one piece at a time and wonder, “What makes a life spectacular or miraculous or valuable?”

How could mine ever be?

Where do the pieces of a life fall? And why do they fall there?

What is the portrait of a life, and what could it tell me about the value of my own selfhood?

Is it possible that my pieces, my every day minutia and routine and struggle and victory, tie together into something lovely?

I hide myself behind the smallness, the every day, in hopes I don’t have to step into the miracle that is my own being. Because that is a terrifying thing. It feels exposing.

And it is what God has been calling me to do. For my entire life, God has called me out of hiding and into the bigger picture of my own story.

I wanted to take one month and write every day, slowing down to admire every piece of my life. It was a terrifying thing to commit to, and I missed a few days and felt guilty about it, but am feeling proud on my last day.

I reflect:

One photo to begin a series of yes. Light shining in on a face hopeful and expecting.

A whole month of life set before her, now resting behind. A month of both accepting and denying the call.

The call to be free. To let the pieces of life fall where they are without trying to measure their worth.

The call to divest herself of all the holds that would hold her her (Whitman).

The call of running, of accepting, of watching the earth greedily absorb imprints of every step she takes as a reminder that her impact is inevitable, and in that inevitably lies a choice, a question: what will the impact be?

The call to freedom is a quiet and steady thing. It’s the reason the meanness is so loud. Lies spiral with a metallic clang, clinking and banging over the sound of what we know deeply.

We – I – turn to phone and TV and food, anything that promises to be louder, trying to silence that meanness in my head.

But when do I stop and listen? Lean my ear past the sound of that all that cruel desperation and into the sound of something whispering?

A hopeful, joyful, true thing. The call to freedom is not one easy to accept and requires a daily position of “Yes.”

I am still learning the sound of its call, still learning how it invites me uniquely. Still learning how to accept it. Accept it with quaking knees and a thudding heart.

Pressing past the meanness that tells me I am an imposter, that I have no place for my presence. Pressing past the voices telling me there is no room for the pieces of my life.

A picture to begin, and a picture to end. This one of a girl on the other side of acceptance, willing and eager to keep following the call wherever it may lead. In this picture, framed photos sit in arrangement.

Pieces of a life beautiful and extravagant, reminding her:

Keep going.

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