Aug 10, 2015

Jesus love. Photo love. My Picture Project.

Jamie, on a mission trip with Makarios this summer, is being escorted by Makarios student Luigi who is helping her locate some of the kids she took pictures of back in 2008 while she was on a mission trip with Makarios.
A watered seed grows. A heart longs to beat alongside its maker.  A girl dreams, doubts, questions, seeks.  An eye sees and a soul perceives.  For far too long a gift given has sat only partially unwrapped - torn wrapping paper with just a corner of the box peeking through. The gift: to look through a lens and see such incredible depth and beauty, to be charmed by the slightest expression and drawn to rusty, raw backgrounds and candid, unposed moments shared.  And now, the Lord is telling that girl to use the gift as a bridge, to share the art with the subject, to share Him over the exchange of a photo.

It's like when I picked up a camera on foreign soil, a new breath filled my lungs and my mind, my heart, my eyes delighted in all that I could see through the keyhole of my camera.  For a long time this girl struggled with how to use this gift for His glory.  Photos are meant to be shared, and in this slice of time much of the sharing happens over the internet, for all to see, a display of that moment in time.  Over the years, I have posted photos of many people and things from my host culture, because I find them fascinating, interesting, vulnerably beautiful and I see Jesus everywhere I look.  

Aug 8, 2015

The day the gate fell

It could have turned out differently, the heavy metal gate falling on a body.  I thought he was dead as I watched in slow motion horror, the kind where you see something happening that you can't stop, as it reached towards the concrete with the heaviest of crashes, a young man beneath it's metal massiveness.  Splashes of bright red dotted the asphalt on the road as I watched them evaporate in an instant and the brightness of red could be seen gushing from his hairline, the plumber's son, as the finial on the gate took a bite out of his forehead.  

My heart, beating like that of a hummingbird or then again had it stopped pumping?, flittered with the not so distant flitter of trauma,  and without a moment the plumber's dad and I lifted with the strength of God and angels, the heaviness of metal off of the young man, the plumber's son.  He slipped out from underneath, took a few steps and crumpled.  A neighbor across the street, a doctor, having just pulled up began barking commands in Spanish . . . "GET HIM IN THE CAR! FAST! HURRY! GO STRAIGHT TO THE HOSPITAL! FAST! HURRY!" With the numbness of panic washing over me, I opened the passenger side door to the plumber's truck, the plumber's son fell onto the seat, and the red truck and my neighbor doctor sped away.  

I stood there. In the road. The gate in all of its shiny metalness layed in the road like a welcome matt for vulnerability, fear, panic.  I called Jon, and my breathing went into some sort of crazy dance that broke my words apart.  

Later, two grown men tried to move the gate out of the street and were not even able to pull it apart by an inch from the cement beneath. Kind neighbors told me not to worry, that God was in control, and we stood beneath the shade of their tree and stared at the gate lying in the road.  

Jon arrived, having had a 15 minute drive to become deeply entrenched in trauma commander mode, a coping mechanism he came by naturally earlier in his own life when his family underwent a major trauma of their own, and while my emotions spilled over, his were absent. Like water and oil in the same space, our ways of coping repelled the other at a time that closeness would have been a much better remedy.  We reconciled the moment, recognizing that when uncorked emotion meets compartmentalization, there is work to be done outside of the trauma site, but time pressed us to keep moving. A moment to be revisited later.

The life of the plumber's son, 16 or 17 years young, there to help his dad fixing our pump, is a miracle. He escaped the gate with only 8 stitches. No ruptures, fractures or broken bones.  Just hours later the gate repair man retold stories of how many people have died under the weight of gates that have fallen - that did a number on my uncorked emotion as I wondered why all gates here don't have the safety poll in front of them, that the gate repair guy would be installing that day to rehabilitate our fallen gate.  

Nonetheless, the day the gate fell tenderized my heart to hear some things from the Lord. In my reminded brokenness, that our earthly, bodily life can evaporate as quickly as blood on the steaming pavement, I broke free from some paralyzing sentiments. A new friend told me to "Be free!" It was regarding another matter (or was it?), but the soft echo of her words were soaked up as if my soul was a dry sponge.  Words spoken to me by human lips on that day were received as divine by nature, the rawness of the day's events having opened my soul up like the mouth of a baby bird reaching for sustenance with it's beak in the air. Yes, be free. 

Miracles do happen. God IS in control.  And once again, the message to walk in the fullness of His love, mercy and grace, not handicapped by fear of man, fear of oven, spiders, or gate, fear of death, has been received.

A special thank you to those who prayed for the plumber's son and his family and for me on that day last week and in the days following.  God is good.