Two weeks ago, I photographed the funeral of a beautiful, strong, sensational 16 year old girl. “Coincidentally,” she died 2 years after my sweet son, to the day. I arrived to the funeral early and had the opportunity to spend some time “with her” in private before the family arrived. I looked into her radiant, peaceful face, and I asked her to find my brother. To please find him and to tell him I love him and that I’m doing my best to really LIVE my life for him. I held her mother in my arms as she cried. I comforted her in a way that only a mother who’s “been there” ever could. It broke my heart wide open. SHE broke my heart wide open. I learned so much from this girl. This beautiful girl I had never met. I left the funeral that day knowing, deep in my heart, that I had been exactly where I was meant to be.
Exactly one week later, I stood helpless and watched a man die after being struck by a truck while riding his motorcycle (without a helmet). I held the man who hit him in my arms while he cried, over and over, “I don’t want to kill anybody; I don’t want to kill anybody.” I prayed with him as they covered the victim with a sheet and loaded him into the ambulance. Then I took his face in both of my hands, looked him squarely in the eyes and told him, with all the energy of my heart, “THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU DID. YOU ARE GOING TO GO ON WITH YOUR LIFE, AND YOU ARE GOING TO REMEMBER, THIS.WAS.NOT.YOUR.FAULT.” We held each other tightly as I offered one last prayer. . . and then I got in my car, and I drove away. Changed. Knowing that for whatever reason, I had been in the right place, at exactly the right time.
A day shy of a week later, I found myself here, watching Chelsea give birth to her first child. A beautiful little girl. She was born 5lbs 6oz, with dark eyes, and a beautiful head full of hair. It was awesome—in the literal sense of the word: as in, I was full of awe at the beautiful miracle God was bringing to the Earth. After Baby J was born, she experienced a bit of distress, and Chelsea wasn’t able to hold her for long before they whisked her away. At that moment, Chelsea and I locked our tear filled eyes and she thanked me, in very few words that were full of every ounce of her heart. Again, I knew, there was nowhere else on Earth for me to be in that moment but there.
I don’t share these things from a base of egotism. Quite the opposite. I am humbled by the gifts God has given me in such quick succession. Gifts that have changed my heart, completely, and reminded me that THESE are the moments that life is all about. Moments of true, significant love and contribution. Moments where we let our guards down and simply love one another as God so freely loves us. Moments where we are able to see into the Heavens and to KNOW that somehow, someway, this is all part of a greater plan.
I hope these images touch you as much as they do me.
Like I said, when Baby J was born, she was quickly taken away from her mom to be checked by the “nursery team.”
She didn’t love them. Obviously. ;)
My favorite image of the day (times a million):
Chelsea simply watched her new daughter from afar, with so much love written all over her face you could smell it in the air.
Her mom showed her cell phone pictures of Baby J, so she could see close ups of her new daughter! I love this image, so much. Look at Chelsea’s face! RIGHT?!
I did a guest post on Kitchen Corners! Candied Pecan Salad. Check it out here.
My Making Things Happen post is up: The ART of Living. Read that here.
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