So today I decided I was going to muster the strength and determination and go on an adventure by myself in my new town. I grabbed my camera and my camera bag and headed off to a local park/creek. I got out of my car and realized how dang hot it was. I told myself I was going to complete this adventure and so I was. I wasn’t going to get back in my air conditioned car, I wasn’t going to complain about the heat, I was going to make the best out of what today gave me.
I took off down the steep, paved hill to a landing which you cross a bridge to get to the main hiking trails. I stopped and looked around and thought to myself, “well, here we go Elise. You made yourself do this, now go be successful.” I took my first few steps across the bridge without having any clue what I was getting myself into. My body already hurt like crap and I sure wasn’t up for a 5 mile hike, though my soul would’ve loved that. I got across the bridge and looked left, right, up and down – literally. I decided I’d go left and down. I went down beneath the bridge and found myself smiling. This is the first time I’d let my heart control my body in several weeks, and let me tell you, it was a great feeling. I proceeded to the running water. I grabbed a wide angled lens out of my bag and began taking pictures. Taking pictures of any and everything that caught my eye. To my surprise, I was simply happy. After several minutes of walking around in what seemed to be a circle, I followed the water’s path and found a nice rock to sit on – my body was hurting pretty badly at this point and I was only 15 minutes into this whole ordeal. I grabbed a different lens and adjusted some settings and continue taking photos. I wasn’t sure any of these photos were any good because my hands are pretty shaky. But I continued to do what I’d come to accomplish. I came to take pictures.
I went back to my original thought that inspired me to go on this adventure in the first place, “You’ve gotta make yourself do the things your heart likes, not always what your body likes.” At this point I didn’t care if the photos were crappy, blurry, grainy, under or over exposed, I just knew that this is what made my heart happy. Having a camera in my hand, surrounded by God’s people and God’s creation.
Kids jumping in the creek, parents smiling, couples holding hands, strangers waving hello. God’s people interacting in the most peaceful manner in a peaceful place. Isn’t this what God intended? For us to put aside our differences – age, gender, race, religion, culture – and find common ground? Being exposed to this today was a refreshing dose of reality. The raw, unedited version of life. The parts that don’t get broadcasted on primetime television. The parts that are humane and peaceful. The parts that reveal what the majority of life is all about. The parts that don’t get cut or cropped. I saw this life today. I realized that so many of the smiles today weren’t forced. These people were letting their heart be happy. This happiness is the most innocent, simple kind of happiness. It’s the kind of happiness that doesn’t disappoint. It’s the kind of happiness that can’t be taken away by an object or physical ability.
I let my heart be happy today. I let my heart do something it liked, regardless of what my body says. And believe me, as someone who battles chronic pain 24/7, this is hard to do. But, I did it. I let myself make a positive decision, regardless of my bodies physical limitations. I let my mental strength be stronger than my physical strength. I let my heart be happy.
So, today’s simple lesson? You’ve gotta make yourself do the things your heart likes, not always what your body likes.
“She is tossed by the waves, but does not sink.”
*If you’d like to see more of the photos, feel free to ask!