It’s definitely a plus when your sister is incredibly talented at taking pictures: whether that’s of every position you could ever put a chicken in, or capturing every day life with its every day people and their beautifully unique essences. Tonight, my mother and I went through all 2,000+ pictures that my sister took at our church’s annual parish retreat, and we were both speechless at the amount of vibrancy, beauty, elegance, peace, unity, joy, (I could go on…) that this community not only has, but shares.
I have not had the opportunity of attending this church my whole life, but I can definitely say that I have grown up here. And I think I can say that we have grown up together. I’ve witnessed God’s presence sweetly fall upon this church and seen His hand gently and firmly move His body through much adversity, but as I looked at the pictures I was able to get a glimpse at the enormity of His presence within and amongst us as I also saw Him lie down with us on sweet pastures at Eastern Mennonite University, passionately display joy and perseverance through the youth, breaking bread through the Young Adults, giving us hugs and His unconditional love through the generation that has witnessed Truro over more time than many of us have, and His hope through the bubbling laughter of the children.
What I learned throughout not only the weekend, but also reliving the memories through my sister’s pictures has a bigger picture, though I think it’s more of an affirmation for whomever so happens to read this as well as to the congregation I so happen to have the blessing of being a part of. This is that, it is really easy, almost second nature to become involved in the difficulty of a moment that we become unaware of the garden that God is planting in our lives. One of the takeaways from last weekend’s talks was the affirmation of the infinite value that each one of us has. That may sound like the most obvious thing in the world, but we forget. We forget that the eyes we encounter and look into each day are filled with depth and humanity, precious life. We become immune to it at times because we so often forget our individual worth. Sometime, somewhere, the focus in our lives went from being engrossed in the miracle of imagination and adventure to developing disappointment with self: becoming unaware that our worth did not actually depend on the interactions and reactions of the world around us, but is held and loved in the ever constant hand of our Father. Our worth being what falls from the eyes of Him who stands in front of us, wherever we are, and whispers our name. Let me tell you, I saw Him in your eyes when I went through those pictures. I see Him in your eyes when I have the honor of spending time with you. I hear Him when I hear you sing. He laughs and breaks bread with us. We go through hardship and heartbreak, but the peace of God which surpasses all understanding is gardening beauty amidst that. And when I look into your eyes, I get to see a little bit of the gorgeous garden He is growing amongst us. I pray He shows you the beauty you carry within and fall in love with the eyes that are so in love with you. And thank you, beautiful one, for allowing me to fall in love with you.