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Mar 07, 2019
I've been in a bit of a philosophical mood. I was thinking a lot about time, and I created the above piece as a reflection of some of my thoughts.
Today is Ash Wednesday. (Okay - it's Thursday. I started this yesterday and meant to post it, but couldn't quite get it finished!).
Last year, Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine's Day. Hmmm....I guess Ash Wednesday makes me philosophical. "From dust you came and to dust you will return."
I shot the original photo over at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta. This is inside the mausoleum.
It was an easy hand-held shot 1/125 at f/6.3, ISO 100. I like the way the stained-glass windows reflected on the floor and walls.
A lot of people find cemeteries creepy. But I like them. I always have. Even as a kid.
I remember my whole family going to visit a friend of ours, Fr. Jack, in Massachusetts. He was a priest and lived in the rectory behind the church. There was also a huge cemetery right outside his door.
He had a cool dog, and we took the dog on a few walks through the cemetery while we were visiting.
We had a lot of fun on that trip.
I'm looking back at a photo of that time and it doesn't seem real. It was a lifetime ago in so many ways.
We lost my older brother only a couple of years after that vacation. A loss that no one in my family will ever get over. But then, I don't think anyone ever "gets over" the loss of a loved one.
You learn to live with it. You do your best to move forward and get on with your life. And you learn a lot about finding joy in the little moments of life. It's important not to turn into Miss Havisham.
My brother's loss taught me the cyclical nature of grief.
Grief is not a linear process. You circle back time and again, sometimes at the most unexpected moments. Though cliche as it sounds, time does heal wounds, or at least it makes them easier to cope with.
No one knows the day or the hour, as the Bible says. Sometimes I panic wondering if I'll be able to accomplish all the things I want to before I die. Thus - all the clocks in the photo floating around the mausoleum.
Mostly, I don't worry about it. I accomplish what I can. But I think it's good to remind yourself of your mortality now and then. Walking through a cemetery does that!
But another thing loss teaches you - gratitude.
I'm so grateful for the abundance in my life.
And by abundance, I mean the people most of all. My kids and grandkids. My sister and her family. And my parents. As they get older, I savor the moments I have with them and realize what a huge blessing it is to have their lifelong love and support.
And of course all my wonderful friends.
I've read a lot about gratitude journals, and I have one. I think it's a good practice to notice the good things you have in your life. Chances are, even if it feels like things are terrible, you have a lot in your life to be grateful for.
This Lenten season, that's what I'm focusing on - gratitude for the blessings.
The last few years have been tough - tougher than I could have imagined. But at the same time, I've experienced tremendous growth.
Struggles are their own blessing. They make you what you are. You either tackle them and grow or you become Miss Havisham. I'm grateful for the struggles and for the amazing people in my life - my personal cheerleaders.
And I expect great things moving forward.
I hope you do too!
Have a great Lent. And keep counting your blessings.
And see you between the raindrops!
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