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Past The Road

Open field next the road lined by a wooden fence.
Beyond the road…

I have always been obsessed with roads. The road gives a clear picture of where I am going. The way it points ahead into the distance, the yellow lines smoothly flying forward with the confidence of a plane on track. In Colorado there is almost always mountains ahead. And though the road may wind and turn I can feel my excitement building as I watch the horizons come into sight, the mountains building in size until at last I am riding through the craggy sides of the mountains themselves. The road is direction, a clear reassurance that no matter if you lose direction, a road will lead you in and out of it. One of the things that can bring me into a state of panic is to lose sight of the road. Being caught in a blizzard or snowstorm causes me great anxiety. Suddenly that road disappears after two feet. There’s nothing there but a swirling force of… nothing. Unless you are very familiar with the road, every turn brings uncertainty, a drop in the stomach, because you have no clue where you’re going without being able to see that road… Your sense of direction is challenged in every way – where you’re going, what your goal is and the ultimate question, should I pull over or should I blindly going forward looking for a safe place until the storm is over ?

Sometimes the direction of where we ought to go just isn’t as clear as a road. Life can be like driving down the highway with the sun on your shoulders and singing into the strands of hair on your face, and all is GOOD. There’s a joy, a confidence that all is as it should be. And the next moment it can be like standing in a vast dessert, same sun on your shoulders but the road has disappeared. There’s no imminent danger, just a clear loss of vision, of purpose. Or that’s what you feel. That’s what you think.

But maybe Life isn’t just about The Road. Maybe your missing out on a whole different life, experiences you’re missing because, well, that road just goes by too fast.

Sometimes the road stops and it can do so for many reasons. Sometimes there isn’t a choice. Sometimes you’re forced to stop by an impenetrable force. Something life throws at you like the heavy debris from a tornado… Sometimes you come to your own reasons for stopping. Maybe the seeds of doubt began to spread and you just had to see for yourself – what’s beyond the road? Why is following the road so damn important? Maybe the important parts are what’s on the sides. Maybe it’s not just all about the road… maybe it’s about how we get there? What we see on the way? Maybe the road never stops? Maybe it was never about the ending… just the journey.

Maybe it’s not just all about the road… maybe it’s about how we get there? What we see on the way? Maybe the road never stops? Maybe it was never about the ending… just the journey.

The Detour.

Without going into too many details in this post I will say this, What began as what I interpreted to be a road block turned out to be a detour of the most beautiful kind. Painful issues involving my heath (specifically my hands) caused me to take a long leave from several things which included using my phone, computer/editing, and even most social media as it required use of both phone and computer. I struggled for a bit trying to figure what everything meant, what I was supposed to do going forward… in other words, WHERE IS THE ROAD???

I don’t have a clear answer. Although cutting down my work extensively improves the pain, it can come back just as fast when I overuse my hands. I don’t know if I will ever fully be able to go back to the way things were. Taking the detour has caused me to think about what I want to expend energy on. What is important? No, what is priority? After taking a few months off I can look back and see where my efforts and energy were going and they weren’t going into what matters most to me.

Unfortunately blinded with my own good intentions in making my business succeed, my family had taken a back burner. And while my business was thriving and growing, a part of my heart was dying because deep inside I knew I was letting down the people who mattered most to me. I’m thankful for the changes that have taken place because I have gained a deep understanding of what loving and serving my family truly means.

I remember when months ago going to bed every night at 4 am was normal. I didn’t even have time any more to photograph the people I love the most. I didn’t have time or energy for long walks or stories before bed, snuggles in the morning or baking with my children. My weekends were full every single week. It’s hard to start up and keep a new business afloat. And it comes with a lot of personal sacrifices… With my road block I was forced to re-evaluate everything and for the better. I now take into account how long I will be able to have my camera out. I don’t take carrying for an hour for granted anymore… this makes me focus on what I want to capture. It also forces me to put it away and enjoy being in the moment. My children used to hate it when I took my camera because it would dominate everything. I wanted to capture everything, every precious moment. The only thing is that I didn’t realize I was actually missing it because instead of spending it with them I was behind the camera.

My time is different these days and because I am learning to view my time and energy as the gift from above that it is, I am finding purpose and fulfillment in so many different ways. And lately I’ve learned a whole different twist to photographing my children. Instead of making the moment happen so I could capture it, I’ve learned to take special notice of moments that are happening all on their own…

These may not be masterpieces to other people, but these are the moments that matter to me. It’s a huge part of what my journey is about. And I wouldn’t of found it if I hadn’t of went beyond the road.

I don’t think everyone’s journey’s are the same. Our callings are different, our priorities change. And while you may not be able to relate to my personal story, I would still challenge you to look beyond the Road you have set for yourself. And even if it’s the one you’re sure you should be on, have you stopped for a moment to enjoy the scenery? Have you forgotten what the journey is about? Don’t forget that the road is only one of millions you will take and that it all comes down to your journey and all that you allow that to be.

Always in love,

Rachel

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