We're out about a month ago. He parks the car. I get out. I hear train horns blaring. He already knows. He laughs and says "go on grab the camera and run. Get the photos." My eyes light up and I grab the camera and run. This is love, I think to myself. He knows me.....the moment echos. I stand there amidst the cars and the rain. A Black girl with a camera.... a curiosity of sorts.
But the cars on this train were wonderful.
I've determined blurry images are often beautiful. Things don't always need to be in focus for them to be amazing.
I looked a little crazy standing there. Cars waiting. I'm the only single being without a car standing there and with a camera. It really didn't matter. You get one time to capture a moment. The more I think about it, the more I realize there are moments in love where we get a chance, we miss it. But when we hear those horns again, we run for it. We run to catch it and make sure we don't miss that shot. We know we've gotta make the shot and it doesn't matter how we look or what anyone thinks. We know just running and trying and standing in the rain is worth what could be possible.
At least this is something I personally know to be true. Sometimes we get second chances to take the shot, to make things right. Sometimes we get more chances. That's grace. An opportunity to make things right, a do over of sorts.
There's something about the moment you understand your passion and you're willing to look crazy in order to make it. There's also a blessing when others invite you to more of yourself. I'm thankful to have people in my life who offer this kind of love. People who leave room for expansion, movement and change.
After the train leaves, I walk back to the destination (which was only about 20 steps away) and I'm consistently in awe of this structure just sitting there. It always looks different depending on the weather and the season. An industrial beauty.
I'd taken photos before of this structure but never one where the color turned out just right.
I was snapping this photo when the wife of an older couple came up to me to ask me if I was a photographer. I answered "yes...." with a smile and we spoke about loving rainy days and the photos they produce. We had a nice talk about refineries and industrial things, about the red monolith and our love for certain things. She smiled at me genuinely, which I appreciated and told me to "keep going." I appreciated that too.
I've mentioned it before but it's so critical to ourselves. In doing so, it encourages others to be themselves. In being our full selves, we meet the people who are like us. It's how we find our tribe. You meet the people you need in your life while you're on the road doing what you need to do.
There's something magical about American industry. About the things we don't pay attention to any longer. The things we take for granted.
Which reminds me....
Don't take things for granted. Don't allow yourself to be taken for granted. Don't take others for granted.
There are people out here who support our dreams and love us. They love us through our worst moments, the most difficult times and they show up when everyone else runs the other way. Learning how to see them and recognize them even when we're running for something we most desire is a key to a successful life. Knowing who's on your team and about your mission - those are things we need to know in order to be able to make it.
Knowing who isn't on your team and is likely to derail you is even more critical at certain times in our lives.
No one can make it on their own. I've been a believer for a long time. Before I fully understood what it meant, I knew God existed. I now know (S)He works through the love and efforts of others. We are meant to be in relationship. We're meant to listen and to love. We're meant to fellowship.
I just know the fact that he told me to go get the photos and told me to run for the train meant he loves me. I'm free to be my wild and crazy self. At the very least, he pays attention to what I love and what moves me - and well, that's love in tandem and in the most tangible form. I guess that's all we can ask for right? The opportunity to be fully ourselves -- at least to present our full selves.
In some ways, I still hold back. It's a matter of conditioning. But it's more difficult to to withhold than it is to spill. I've reached the maximum capacity of having to hide. I don't have the ability to navigate those waters. It's like being able to inhale and exhale fully.
Today, I'm thankful for not having to be less than, or less of myself. I'm thankful those closest to me who encourage at every point and help to protect the woman I'm growing into. I'm thankful when someone knows and points out I need to go and get the shot. I'm thankful for those that understand my crazy and hold me tighter for it. For me? That's love.