Monday, July 7, 2014

Paths on the Journey...

 It was a year ago that I drove down this driveway, realizing that I was now the recipient of a goodbye tradition I had participated in countless times. I drove past the waving hands and smiles of dear friends and co-workers and tried to hold in my tears and save them for the open road. I remember catching sobs in my throat as I turned onto Route 335, leaving behind a place I loved. I was full of confusion and sadness as I drove toward a new and unexpected future back in BC.

When I moved to Quebec three years ago, it was an exciting time of taking the next step toward a place that had been on my heart since I was 12 and I was finally embarking on what God had been calling me toward for so long. Although I didn't know what my entire future would hold, I knew I would be in Quebec serving in some way for quite some time.

Sometimes our paths take us places we would have never imagined.

I never imagined that I would be returning to BC after only living in Quebec for two years. 

I never imagined that I would return to BC at all.

I never imagined that my mom would have cancer.

I never imagined myself as my mother's primary caregiver.

I never imagined to learn about different drugs and medical procedures.

I never imagined spending so much time in the hospital.

I never imagined going to seminary.

I never imagined having no idea what life would entail at 30.

I have been trying to be more reflective and prayerful with my photography since returning to BC. It has become a way of connecting deeply with God and allowing the Spirit to speak to me on a deeper level that sometimes only creativity can make room for.

Lately I have been loving taking pictures of paths. Whether it be trails, or railroad tracks or roads, there is something in it that begs me to take a picture of it. It took me a while to recognize the connection of the photos I had been taking, but now as I look back they speak to me deeply and I wanted to share some of them with you. 

 The path is sometimes hilly, sometimes flat.

Sometimes I can see where the path goes for miles, sometimes I have no idea what's around the corner.

The view from the path is at times majestic and breathtaking, other times constricting and ugly.

Sometimes there's mosquitoes or other bugs. Sometimes there's bears.

At times the path is beautifully manicured, other times there's roots to trip over, rocks, or other obstacles.

Sometimes it's sweltering hot, beautifully sunny with blue skies, or rainy and gray.

The path can be lonely or full of people.

Sometimes I like to run down it, other times I need to saunter and pause frequently.

But in the end, no matter what path I am on, when I stop and reflect and truly look at it, there is incredible beauty within it.

And usually when I am convinced I know the destination, there's a turn in the path to something different and unexpected.

And thankfully around the corners, even though I don't always understand how the path works or where in the world it is taking me or why I should walk that specific path, I can marvel at the journey and trust that although I may not know much about the path, I know the one who has created that path perfectly for me. And I also know that He is faithful and loves me and therefore I can journey with confidence, trusting in a purpose that is far greater than I could have imagined. 

And so I write to you from the middle of the path I am on. There have been times when I thought the path was going to turn sharply and open up to a new landscape, but so far it hasn't and for that I am grateful on so many levels.

I don't have to worry about what the next path looks like or where it will go, because for now I want to enjoy the path I am on. And as I take the time to stop and look around, reflecting on my surroundings, I will see beauty where I didn't see it, know God in a different way and live life a little deeper than before.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Every once in a while I like to get a little cheesy and mix it with something I find profound. So in the last few weeks as I read 'The Fault in our Stars' and then tonight as I sat in the movie theatre watching the film, it resonated deeply with me. Yes it's a love story, but even more than that, it's a beautiful story about loss and the reality of how much loss sucks, but the fact that love is worth it.

From the first part of the book, where it boldly declared that pain demanded to be felt, this book challenged me. Sometimes I like to cling to pain. Or sweep it under a rug. Or numb it. Yet there is only one appropriate response: to feel it. At the end of the book/movie, one of the characters says, “You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you."

The truth of this sometimes makes me want to put up walls so that no one will hurt me, and yet opening the door to love subsequently opens the door to pain. But we can be thankful with our choices. The main character, Hazel calls herself a grenade and recognizes that when she "blows up", there will be casualties and fears that those she loves will become the casualties. And yet those who love her count it a privilege. 

I too am privileged.

I don't think we become casualties when those we love die. It sucks and it's painful but loss reflects relationship and the great meaning and impact that those people had in our lives, even if just for a small amount of time.

As I reflect on past loss, they were sudden and unexpected and parts of me felt like I was dying in the aftermath. But I wouldn't trade loving them to have a pain free life. The beauty of those relationships and the memories have been worth every tear, sob, and gut ache.

Walking with my mom on this journey that has no set end is not easy on many levels. But in the moments when I am tempted to retreat into myself and "hide" from the future pain that a grenade might cause, I stop and take in every bit of every moment: the laughter, our conversations, the tears, our petty arguments... each one is precious and worth it.

Photo taken by

And watching her love for her family, especially her grand-babies is such a gift. With the whirlwind of emotions, I don't want to hide from it but I want to face it head on and take in everything. I want to choose love, even in the face of loss.

I am thankful for the daily choice I make in loving my mom. It is my privilege to care for and love her.