“Life itself cannot give you joy, unless you really will it to; LIFE just gives you time and space, it is up to you to fill it.
Jim and I watched “The Soloist” a movie about the true story relationship between a reporter and prodigy musician living on the streets in LA, a city that has 90,000 homeless people. It reminded me that those “chance” encounters in life can be life changing if we have the awareness that life is full of these moments…often overlooked, we just need to have eyes to see and the courage to embrace them.
My adventure started in exotic places all over the world, but when I came home I wondered why people were more willing to embrace the unknown and adventure in other places but not in everyday life at home….that question started one of the greatest chapters of my life; by a “chance” encounter with a group of homeless people “living” near campus…I followed the stirring in my heart to wave—they looked up and smiled, the next day they waved back and a few weeks later I found myself sitting with them after photography classes, I was amazed by their creativity, stories and intelligence…after one found out that I was an English major, he would ask me about authors I had never even heard of and talk Brit Lit with me like he read it daily.
But there was one girl that I had an instant connection with, her street name was Tracy, though her real name was Shelly….most choose to separate themselves from their former lives with new names…some picked average names like Tracy, others chose shocking names like Satan (needless to say I avoided him.)
Tracy left home at the age of 12 after living in abusive foster homes…her nomadic life took her down the west coast to AZ and eventually up to Nebraska…
She was funny, artistic, smart and would give me gifts from her dumpster diving excursions….I walked life along side her through 2 pregnancies-even standing with her during her C-section, the city mission, rehab, Lincoln Friendship Home…but she always chose to go back to the streets where she felt free to be her, where it was comfortable and ironically safe for her. She called me one day and asked if I would watch her baby, Harley, named after her boyfriend’s obsession with motorcycles; she was suppose to return a few hours later, but never did. I was 22 and became his foster mom…my heart was his and we forged forward. He was later adopted by a Lincoln family. As for Tracy, well I pray she is still with us on this earth and if she is that our paths will cross again, she has changed my life forever, for the better.
I want to encourage you to see with curious eyes and live with a couragious spirit. Help that stranger….your intentions might be to bless them, but we are usually equally blessed, enlightened & helped in this journey by them. May we all embrace the adventures set before us. They may not be in exotic places far from home—they, more than likely, will begin right down the street.
My passion for photography stems from the beauty I see in each person I meet and wanting to know their story more fully….we each have an amazing and unique story, deserving to be told, share your story with pictures, words, song, dance, art, fashion….
Sometimes all that stands between you and a whole new journey is simply getting out there and seeing what you’re made of.
My pictures in this blog may not be fantastic and artistic but they are of some of my moments when I embraced the people & moments God set before me. I wish I opened my eyes more often to everything God sets before me.
These moments would be fading memories without pictures..