Going through old pictures

empty. do not destroy

At 5:45 this morning, I yawned from bed onto quiet streets to pick up a friend and head to the airport.

I saw the harvest moon.

It was glorious.

As we raced to the terminal, we saw the last vast orange glow as it dove into the sleepy westward sky.

I would have hated to miss both the harvest moon and LouBee’s excitement of her next adventure. After a transfer of her famous fresh flowers and a hug, I returned to her home to take advantage of Lou’s generosity and wifi. It’s resume season after all.

Computer? Check. Phones? Check. Check. Coffee? Check. Check. Check.

Caffeine, a flickering switch, whirring processor, and…an unexpected game delay.

I clicked on the wrong folder and landed in my massive photos cache. Oh the photos. Kids, blind one-eyed cat, Peewee, a hamster named Ginger, pals, pictures from long ago and not so far away-but most another lifetime or so away.

What is it about photos that well up both gratitude and grief?

Faces and landscapes.
Family and friends.
Cats and dogs (and hampsters).
Smiles and wonder.

It was almost too much. 

After culling a few thousand files from the photo folder, I felt empty.
Perhaps, I just recognized that I am empty
which explains why no blogs were posted last week.

Empty is not a bad thing.
Emptiness reveals what is missing.
And instead of running to the Reeses or Flint Hills or framily, I just had to sit with it.
Feel it.
Grieve.
Giggle.
Wonder.
Sigh deeply.
Pour more coffee.

Those days and some of those faces will never return.
Dreams…yeah yeah yeah. Squashed, but not squandered.
There was a move or two, promises made and swiftly destroyed; such extraordinary faces and a love for some that will never cease.
A returning.
Home, here in the Flint Hills, recovered.
Adventures chronicled illustrating the current trajectory
of living before everything else
and framily leading life’s great loves.

This weekend, I read that “fear is our greatest, first, and last love.”*

Our relationship with fear draws us into high and low places and we’ll never fully outrun the train that barrels down upon us or achieve whatever it is that we think will make us whole and complete lacking nothing. We can learn to leave the fear behind, however.

As I sat with the empty inside
I wondered if perhaps the emptiness is – in part – revealing where fear once resided.
There is enough fear left within that I’ll potentially be testing this theory for a long long time.

But now there are friends, a long season of unknowns, cooler weather, opportunity, and resumes to be launched towards more opportunity.

As the empty season continues, I keep reminding myself that all of the unforeseen side swipes of living are testaments to the unforeseen sweetness ahead. Not so much tit-for-tat, but “hey, if the funk surprises, so may the joys.”

Joys like returning to run through K-State and the ‘Ville, book club, paddling along the river, heading to OKC with Katie and the kids to cheer on IronMan Dave, afternoons with M’s grandma, Doris; music in historic places…the chance to meet with hiring teams and envision the excitement ahead for each.

Today, I am empty inside.
Tomorrow, I may be full. 

Either way, I will move forward in a picture-imperfect season.

Join with me and we’ll search for the North Star.

*Karen Maezen Miller, “Hand Wash Cold”

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About allielousch

Engaged in everyday adventures and derring do.
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