And just as nature can be both harsh and beautiful, giving or destructive, our families can be, too.
The derecho storm that swept through Iowa was a stark reminder that nature is powerful, fierce, and its strength is spent equally on anyone in its path. The far-reaching damage, coupled with the sting of almost no national news coverage, was surprising.
Family shifts and changes, from marriage, birth, adoption, divorce, or death, are not unlike those storms, with hurricane force winds tearing at our hearts. And if we were wronged, or we acted foolishly ourselves, the aftermath often feels the same.
I can not count how many times in my life I have asked myself “How will we ever recover?”
But just as unexpected help came after the storm, from Amish men with saws and axes to neighbors ready to feed an army, unexpected help comes to our hearts as well. A new relationship can grow where you thought a wound would fester forever. Your most difficult situation can change and hope can find new footing.
As I planned for another family portrait this year, I really looked back through the years. Perhaps my children will know the deeper stories in them. Years our marriage struggled. Years our hearts were broken. Years the joy ran fierce and strong to bind us together.
Perhaps as they grow, they will know their own deeper stories. Years they felt strong. Years they felt small. Years they felt alone even when surrounded by our love.
As an artist, I crave beauty in my life. In my artwork. On my walls. In my heart. Through my relationships.
As a human, I know that beauty is only more striking when compared to the painful.
This year, our portrait will remind us first of adoption. But also of upheaval from the pandemic, of what our family can survive, and that beauty can be found in even the hardest years.
We aren’t pretending this year isn’t hard. We are celebrating our family anyway.
That mindset, alone, is a masterpiece.
How does any masterpiece really begin anyway? Don’t they all begin as a dim idea, a rough sketch, a poor reflection? Ours is beginning with a love of storytelling, and the right artist to bring our vision to life. A collaboration unlike any we have tried before.
So if your family is closer than ever, or feeling pulled at the seams, it is a masterpiece.
I would love to create with you, and hear all about your family, today.