Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Letting Go...

A couple of weeks ago Cody and I sat in our back yard at night and just listened to the crickets and talked. It was lovely. The lights from our apricot tree swung back and forth in the breeze and we watched the full moon come up over the house. I tried, as always, to hang on to the moment as hard as I could. It was just perfect. One of those Kairos moments, I suppose.

These are some night shots with a long exposure from that night. Dreamy.

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I have been attempting to learn to not try too hard to hold onto those perfect moments. To just accept that I can't take a perfect mental image of it and keep it forever. I have tried and tried but those moments that I tell myself to keep inside and "Remember the way this looked and feels. Remember it. Don't let it go. Keep it in your memory forever." Those moments just aren't the ones that I end up remembering. It always ends up being something else, something random, or insignificant, or even something more perfect than what I wanted to keep inside. I can’t control it.

But those memories of images and feelings take over. I admit it, I am one to live in the past. I dwell on beautiful memories. I miss them. I think about them and try to savor those residual feelings. Like the amazing show Cody and I went to. We stood in the sea of people who all knew my favorite song. And we all sang it together with the band we all loved so much. That night was incredible. I left feeling something that remained for weeks. I would think of the show, and just feel a little of that wonderful and indescribable emotion. And then one day I realized that I could no longer remember that feeling anymore. That feeling that was once so strong has now faded away with time and I can no longer recall it. This kills me! Instead of being grateful that I even had that experience at all, I am hurt by the fact that it fades.

I wish I could collect those moments and revisit them again and again. The worst ones are those beautiful moments from back in the teenage days. The summer nights I spent with my best friends. Riding in the passenger seat at night with the windows open, my hand sailing through the desert air on the way to a bonfire. The first time Cody kissed me, in the school hall before class. Driving home after a night with friends, favorite song playing on my tape deck, when the smell of the summer fires from the lightning storms that year was in the air. Very important memories. Feelings of freedom, youth, summer heat, crazy, teenage love. Glimpses of gorgeous moments that are so, so important to me. I kept them so close to me. I thought I could actually hold onto them forever and never lose that ability to recall those precious emotions whenever I smelled a desert fire, or heard a song, or a flash of that first kiss would surface in my mind. And then time happened and I found out I was wrong. I can’t collect moments. I can't hold onto them. Because these pieces of time are that significant, that vital to me, this was a heartbreaking realization and a nasty truth of growing up.

So I take pictures. This is the best thing I have and I am thankful that I at least have that. A little way of peeking back at a moment in time, even if your memory can't recollect it.

Even this is sometimes a problem. In those precious Kairos moments I will find myself setting up shots. I will start thinking "If only I could capture the way the light looks coming through the tree, if only I could take a photo of the way the breeze is blowing that branch.” Which then takes me out of the moment, which essentially causes the experience that I was just blessed with to die a needless, wasteful death. For the most part though, I am always thankful that I took those pictures. I just need to learn to not let my obsessive need to get everything in that photograph take over.

I don’t know why I am this way and it’s probably not something everyone does. I know I’m supposed to live for the moment. This is my curse. Regardless of how futile it is, I find myself grasping those moments, and probably will until my fists turn cold and blue and I can finally watch the tapes of life with Jesus.

But for now, I really am trying. I will tell myself to let go. Enjoy it. There’s nothing I can do, so no matter how much it goes against my neurotic instincts, just enjoy it. And as Lester Burnam sums up so well in American Beauty – “Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.”

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