photo friday: the sad place
A few days ago I received a really beautiful and wonderfully descriptive email from a friend of mine who is from New Zealand, and is currently there visiting her family. We met in South Bend while our husbands were both doing their PhDs and connected in that instant-friend way. In her email she wrote,
While you are sweltering in that awful heatwave, we are quite cold in winter here. The hills are emeralds and it has rained since we arrived–Mum+Dad’s place is surrounded by olive-tree covered hills which I love to walk up. Each day I look at them and can see the rain against their darkness and I can tell if it is too heavy for a walk or if the rain is misty enough to only dust us.
I do not mean to dump on the city of South Bend, or to be unkind– not at all. Both of my children were born there; I lived there for six years. I made some of the most meaningful friendships of my life there, found a lovely community there, and I did grow to love my life there. But now that it grows smaller and smaller in the backwards telescope of time, I do see it as a somewhat “sad place,” in the narrative of my own particular story. However, it was also a place of tremendous growth and pruning, which prepared me somehow for new things– the things I experienced in DC, and the things I am experiencing now. I see that very clearly now. I needed that sad place for a while. Because sad places are also thoughtful places, inward places. They are necessary places.
I didn’t have time this week to take new photos specifically for this theme, so yet again I am cobbling together some old ones from years ago in South Bend. I have no desire to blot out this time of my life from the annals of memory. On the contrary, I feel it sitting on the map of my soul, like a heavy, misty, grey continent, floating like a manatee in the waters of my soul-map. Its quiet gravitational pull, its deprivations, are a metaphor for all the sad places. They are inherently connected to–are the very underbelly–of beauty and possibility and determination– the reason we are able to say, by some miracle: “Glory to God for all things.”