Jon and I photographed an event this past Saturday that brought in Worship bands and Pastor & Pro Skateboarder, Christian Hosoi, as they worked to impact and reach the local community. It was definitely going to be a challenge for our photography skills, but a challenged we welcomed.
As I was making my rounds around the event before it started, I smiled at a mother saying goodbye to her young daughter as she dropped her off at the front entrance. The girl was young looking with long straight black hair. I could only see her from the back and I was ready to greet her with a big hello and when she turned around I was stunned.
Her face was drastically different than what I was expecting. It's hard to describe. In the moment I was actually scared stiff and I felt like I had jumped outside of my body. I wasn't sure if my face showed my inner reaction, and I pray it didn't. The next thing I remember is slipping her a quick smile and "hello" and continued walking my route.
I don't think I could fully describe her face, nor do I think I want to try.
I watched her through the evening as younger girls stared at her. And crowds of older kids would try to avoid her. She couldn't speak because her mouth was permanently formed wide open, so although she could hear perfectly well, she signed in order to communicate.
As one of the worship bands encouraged the crowd of people to come towards the front of the stage everyone ran forward and jumped and danced along with the music. I stood at the corner of the stage to capture the faces, reactions, and joy as everyone moved their hands and bodies and shouted out the lyrics. And as I continued to move my camera, I could see through the view finder her face.
She had her eyes closed and her hands way up in the air and she was jumping. She was smack dab in the front of the crowd and although she was unable to smile, she radiated a joy! I couldn't help but smile at the sight and think "now that's real beauty!"
I continued to have this girl on my mind the entire weekend. And as I was showering today, it hit me. There's no such thing as "bad fruit" when it comes to people. Well, now duh Jhen! Of course we know that. Of course I know that.
But in this young girl's face, I'm finally able to believe it. Our culture would quickly label her, limit her, and do anything in its power to define her. But after having had thoughts I posted in my last post, I've come to ask myself, "how could I?"
Here she was, unashamed and dancing before her Jesus. As people labeled as "normal" stood in the back afraid of what their peers might think of them, she was in the front dancing, jumping, and I'm certain, singing the most beautiful song of praise in her heart. Nothing was holding her back from what she felt moved to do. And then there is me. Venting a little about feeling like a bad fruit in a grocery aisle of good photographers.
I have a lot to work on when it comes to how I process things. A lot to let go of when it comes to seeing life full of possibilities. And as this girl unknowingly served me a piece of humble pie, I find myself asking Jesus to break me down and build me up into a much more beautiful soul willing to serve in a confidence that makes me want to dance, to jump, to photograph and to live with such a zest that when even though the world my label me a bad fruit, my flavors taste of a sweetness and my soul radiates a joy that nothing can hinder.
I know that she may have a life that I might play no part in, but in my life, she has allowed me to see that there is no such thing as a bad fruit no one will buy, and that ultimately in the end, each one of us have already been purchased by Christ. And that is one heck of a good piece of pie.
|Stark Love Photography|
*She allowed me to photograph her for the event, and these photos have me moved to tears of peace, but I wont exploit her on this blog, so her picture has not been displayed.*