As I awakened to the dawn of my 54th year, I lay there reflecting on my one life and all the challenges, changes, and beauty I’ve seen during the course of those years. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’m thankful to have recognized that I wasn’t alone on the journey. I’m thankful to have recognized, too, that the journey wasn’t all about me.
I’m thankful to have realized that for all the times I may have fallen and come short, I can finally acknowledge and accept that I did the best I could with what I had at the time.
I’m thankful for the release that came from hearing Mother Maya Angelou when she told us that “when you know better, you do better.” I’m so thankful that as I have learned better, I have done better.
No, it wasn’t always easy, but I’m forever grateful for the heart and mind for transformation with which the Almighty graced me. It was He who helped me see myself and others as He sees us, a gift that gave me understanding and compassion during those times when I didn’t understand who I or they were being…during those times when all I wanted to do was just cuss and say, “to hell with you!”
I’m thankful for the many days and nights of tears, tears that freed me from decades of repressed emotions and that freed the butterfly I always knew was trapped beneath all the pain, fear, anger, inadequacy, and insecurity. It was a cauldron of emotions on which I’d spent many years keeping the lid tightly sealed, but as that little girl demanded her freedom, it became more and more difficult to do so.
Then, one day in 1996, while confined to my bedroom after surgery on a broken ankle, that little girl’s demands became more than I could repress. At the insistence of my big sister Sheila (Stanley Bowser), I made the call that set in motion the transformation of a lifetime! I obtained the name of a psychotherapist from the insurance company, made the appointment, and began the reclaiming of Lydia. It would be a few years before we got around to releasing the emotions, but we did that, too.
When I look at my life today, I am thankful for the peace, the contentment, the happiness, and the passion I feel. My life today is the opposite of the life I was living in 2010 when I gave it all up to begin traveling light. I’ve had moments—ok, weeks, maybe even months–of fear and panic, wondering what was going to happen to me, where I was going to end up. Thankfully, though, I found my way when God showed me the beauty of the season I’m in right now. Through Joel Osteen, He implored me further to focus on the beauty and all that I do have instead of the burden of what I don’t.
What I see now are the blessings. The blessing of family and friends who love me, support me, and who have opened their homes to me during this continuing season of growth and change.
I see the blessing in experiencing God in nature almost daily in parks and by rivers and lakes in various cities.
I see the blessing in being able to photograph those God moments in ways that will inspire others. How satisfying to hear from a viewer that those photos are a source of inspiration, peace, and calm.
So, while my life may not be what it used to be, I am eternally grateful for what it is. I am thankful, too, for every person who has supported me in ways too numerous to mention as I move through this season, which, quite honestly is the second best time of my life!! What’s the first, you ask? That would be my cross-country road trip.
Oh, there’s one more thing that I’ve realized, and it’s that I’ve embarked upon yet another journey that I know will take me places spiritually—and probably emotionally and physically, too—to which I’ve never been, and I’m very excited about it!
As I end this post, I’m reminded of a line from Gil Scott-Heron’s song ‘I’m New Here’. In it he says,
“No matter how far wrong you’ve gone, you can always turn around.”
I hope I’ve said something today that will inspire you to turn around.
With this post, I’m including a few random photos I made over the last few days. I hope you enjoy them.
Bess Walker Park
A road at Indian Springs
The swings at Trammell Crow Park, Atlanta
A favorite spot at Indian Springs State Park
On Avondale Lake at Bess Walker Park
Walking trail in Bess Walker Park
Liberty Lake in Freedom Park, Macon
Sister’s flower garden
Irresistible beauty in a cousin’s yard in Atlanta
Snail on the trail in Trammell Crow Park, Atlanta
A visitor in Freedom Park, Macon
Another drop-in at Freedom Park
Yet another drop-in at Freedom Park
Dragonfly at Little Ocmulgee State Park
Little Ocmulgee State Park
Little Ocmulgee State Park