Friday, May 8, 2009

Shattered, but beautiful

They say that a picture is worth a 1000 words. I believe that a picture can inspire at least a 1000 words! This picture began with a drive by shooting, oddly enough. We’ll get to that in a minute.

As part of the 365 project that I am working on in 2009, I have been taking more photographs than ever. I love my camera – I often feel that it’s a necessary appendage to my body – and documenting my family’s life is my ultimate goal.

When you have 365 days to document, you begin to look past the obvious baby grins, wrestling matches, and band concerts that we quite often fill our scrapbooks with. You begin to see the opportunity to really look at the little details that make up our lives and preserve them forever in this format. It fleshes out the pictures of events into the rich and full landscape of life as it is for us in 2009.

I also began to see correlations between images that I see, and the lessons that we learn along the way. Analogies, or visual interpretations of what I am experiencing. I’ve been taking the time to record these similes because it gives such depth to the stories that I tell.

Last fall, when the economy began to fall apart and the world was hanging by a thread over the Presidential Election, I received word that my entire department was being eliminated from the company that I had worked for these past 11 years. I had also worked 12 years for the previous owner, which means that I had spent my entire adult life in this business. I am one of those that goes all in, and I gave the business my heart and soul. I made it my entire world, and had such vision for what we could accomplish.

It is needless to say that I was devastated. The lack of income was minor compared to the loss that I experienced personally. I had used every talent that I possess to make this the most amazing place to work and to have that spill out into the community at large. Because I spent so much effort in this area, most of my friends were from the workplace, as well.

Apparently, the memo that I was no longer employed was translated in a much more general fashion, and the coworkers that I thought were my friends were suddenly no longer interested in me. I heard from no one for months. Admittedly, I didn’t often make the effort to approach them, and that is my failure.

To make a long story short: my entire world was turned inside out.

Now is not a good time to find work in this country, and our county is particularly hard hit. Recent figures show unemployment at 14.1%. Statistically, the odds of my finding gainful employment are slim to none. Add to this the complication that I work in the IT field, and finding work in a small town is ridiculously remote.

I still have no idea where I am headed, and it is quite likely that I will have to consider a second career before it is over. I’ve had to evaluate what is most important to me in my work, and what things I am willing to compromise on – and what I am not.

I have toyed with the idea of becoming a graphic designer. I recently discovered digital scrapbooking and I am loving it! I am in awe of the designers who create the digital kits that I find online. I envisioned myself the artiste, whipping up papers and embellishments that could be downloaded by my adoring clients. Realistically, this is not likely to happen. I don’t have any idea where to start in such a world, much less thrive…and my Photoshop skills, while impressive for an average Josephine, are no match to the talent that I see in digi websites.

It has opened my mind to the possibility of a more creative career, however. I am most satisfied when I am able to use my artistic tendencies alongside the technical expertise that I have.

So back to the photo.

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at home when a drive-by shooting happened at our house. I heard a powerful crack that shook my family room, and I looked up to find that the sliding glass door had shattered. I say this in jest, of course, as the item shot was a rock, and the driving was my husband on the lawn mower. But it was very scary, nonetheless! I loved hearing my almost-three year old tell the story…”Daddy mowed the grass and there was a big bang, and then a hole and the winnow looked like a spider web. It scared the TRAP out of me!”

It was a beautiful sunny day, and the door looked like cathedral glass. It was dazzling, sparkling in the sun! I grabbed the camera and snapped a few off. Just yesterday, Hubby pulled out the broken glass, which he had saved in a bucket. I laid it out in the sun and took more pictures, practicing my macro shots. He had the great idea of setting up a light box with colored LED lights underneath that lit up the facets of the glass with such brilliance.

So here is the lesson, since I know that this is a lot of back story to get to such a simple message. The glass is shattered, and no longer can be used for it’s original purpose. But it’s still beautiful. Just in a very different way than it was before. I could take the pieces and use them to make something new that would sparkle like diamonds. Something far more exquisite than the scratched door that was covered with fingerprints and doggy noseprints. It can rise above the event that shook it from it’s very frame and scattered the pieces.

I know that my Heavenly Father has plans for me, and perhaps I’ll be like the shattered glass. My world has been upset and I’m really not very good at change. But with His help, I can gather up the pieces and use them to make something beautiful and new, that catches the light in an entirely different way than I have ever experienced.

It was a peaceful feeling, looking over the photos that I had taken. Because the glass was no longer held rigidly in place, you could see it various ways, depending on your perspective. I know that I need to stop trying to fit myself back into the frame that I used to be in, because I no longer fit in that mold. I have become something much more fascinating and faceted during this time of unemployment. I’ve had the time to stretch a bit in areas that I never had the time to do before. I am shattered, but beautiful all the same.

(to those of you who know me well enough to know that I was probably cracked to begin with…now is a good time to keep that to yourself, okay?!)

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