My toes were on the kneeler, heels dangling off the edge to stretch out my calves from sitting most of the day. I probably still smelled like stale airplane and dry shampoo, but I wasn’t quite ready to wash off the remnants of travel just yet.
I had just spent a few days in New Haven, Connecticut for the Walk Through A Wedding Workshop with Justin & Mary. It was two & a half full days of learning about photography & business, always coming back to one question:
Why do we pick up our cameras? Why do we shoot weddings? Why do we ask our couples to pose a certain way? Why do we share photos? Why do we use social media? Why?
It’s one of those questions that may never fully be answered.
(And that’s one big but because I even put it in bold, you guys.)
We should still seek out the answer.
And for me, that has been going on for a while. Things like leaving my job a year ago and going through coaching have kicked up how fervently I’ve been seeking the answer to my why. I don’t want to just be taking pretty pictures. Yes, good photos are important and I’m always learning more about how to be a better photographer – I mean, I just went across the continent to learn from some of the best!
But if you’ve ever had coffee with me you know I skip the surface level stuff and dive into vulnerability faster than you can take that first sip of your latte. I’ve also probably talked about my issues with social media with you as I lovingly cradled my cup in my hands: Instagram can feel like a steady stream of highlight reels, Facebook filters everything so who knows if anyone even hears you when you are authentic, and heck – I don’t even have Twitter.
But I love sharing stories.
So let’s get back to the part where I still smelled like the inside of an airport.
It was the first day of Lent and I was in church trying to focus on prayer, but my thoughts were all over the place. Pretty typical post-trip brain: going over all the things I learned about myself, analyzing my current season of life, wondering where I should go next, planning when to leave, debating if staying would be better.
I was holding my head in my hands, massaging my temples and doing a poor job at quieting myself to listen to God, when two words softly floated into my train of thought:
It was as if God gave me the answer to the question I didn’t know how to ask. As if I had been complicating things and He knew I needed some clear simplification.
I’ve been rediscovering a lot about my faith lately and realizing that there’s no point asking myself why I pick up a camera if I’m not asking myself why on an even deeper level first.
The point of anything in life – anything – is to choose God. To choose the path that will bring me closer to Him. To choose discipline over laziness. To choose activism over apathy. To choose things that give life over things that draw out death.
To choose holiness.
It’s hard to choose that over & over. Especially when it’s so much easier to put on another episode of Gilmore Girls instead of cleaning my room or doing the dishes. And those are just little things!
It’s hard to choose holiness when the world preaches convenience. When we see people choosing careers, or hobbies, or even other people that don’t challenge them to be the best version of themselves.
The stories we hear from the world make it hard to feel like there are other people out there who don’t want to settle for mediocrity, who don’t want to let life slip by in a river of regret & indifference.
The stories we share are shaping our future, our generation and the ones that will come after us.
The future belongs to storytellers. So what stories do we want to be telling?
I want to tell stories of people trying to become saints.
The ones that don’t take the easy way, even if the world preaches convenience. The ones that challenge the status quo, even if it means backlash from those who are too intimidated to do the same. The ones that know how to love, even if they are imperfect – because they know He who is perfect love loves them anyway.
The ones that are vocal about their faith, challenging their friends to rise above the clutter of our culture. The ones that don’t care about numbers of followers and instead care about creating discussion and connection. The ones that engage our culture online and are the same offline.
The ones that, when their kids and their grandkids gather around on the couch to flip through their wedding album one day, are talked about with respect and admiration. Stories of their lives are shared across dinner tables, remembered for being all in, no matter the sacrifice.
The ones we call generation changers.