I looked out the window and knew, finally, how to name what I had been experiencing over the past several months. I had tried all of the things I knew to do to help me understand what was going on deep inside of me. I prayed. I walked. I worshipped. I read Scripture. I tried to talk to friends, to my wife, to my spiritual director. I despaired. I consumed coffee. I pouted. I drifted. Something was going on deep inside of me that I could not wrap my mind or my words around.
Then I saw it. I grabbed my camera and captured the moment. Now I sit with this image and let God reveal new things about the work He is doing in, “groanings to deep for words” (Rom 8:26). I see the barrenness that I feel, but I see other things in this image as well. I see the hope of spring that follows winter. I see the evergreen tree near by, a reminder of the constancy of God’s love. I see the fog that sometimes obscures my vision. I see the palm trees and the hope they offer to those traveling the wilderness/desert. I see another tree, barren and leafless, at the edge of the image, a call to community in my loneliness. I see the car in the background, unaware of when I took the picture, promising a way of escape… temptation hiding in plain sight. I wish I could edit that part out, but it’s true to the picture and the state of my soul. I see how my soul feels and grow in awareness of self and awareness of God.
Special thanks to our guest blogger Shawn Smith for both the blog and the photo. Shawn is a Spiritual director, worship leader, musician, and photographer. He is a frequent collaborator at Horizons and is particularly interested in the intersection of worship, spiritual formation, and the arts as pathways to intimacy with Christ. Thanks for sharing this with us, Shawn!