Without question, I love to photograph faces more than anything else. The expressions, the eyes, the knowing beyond what can be communicated with words. Faces of all the people, but particularly those of the children in Kenya, have captured my heart. They have a wisdom about them that is hidden with their youth, and only by really looking and feeling can you see that it is there.
You look at the faces
that belie the truth in their years.
Joy, wisdom, sparkle, grace
deep in their eyes,
a truth of knowing beyond age.
Kenya is on my heart today. The children, the feelings, the culture and the presence. I miss the Pokot and their deep way of connecting to presence. You know the girl whose picture I posted the other day? The girl who God used to speak truth right to my heart? If not, read about it here https://presentmomentphotography.com/2015/03/05/reflection-pokot-kenya-metro-detroit-photographerg-grac-pokot-kenya-metro-detroit-photographer/ You’ll be glad you did.
I am thinking about her family, and the children, and the squalor in which they live, and their desperate need for water, walking over five hours a day just to have something to drink. I am thinking about how beautiful and engaged they were with life, but also how sick they were and tired and worn. And despite it all, they were beautifully faithful. So much more faithful than I am as I sit in my kitchen on a Saturday worrying about the future and my purpose in life and my kids fighting instead of loving and worrying and worrying and texting every friend I have for distraction. I am doing all of this instead of simply putting my faith in a God that already knows what my future is, and that future is undoubtedly beautiful, as were all the past futures of my life because they led me to where I am now.
If you need an example of faith today, to bring you back to this perfect and present moment, cling to the example I saw deep in the desert of Africa, where everything was scarce, except for an amazing and deep conviction that God will take care of them. At this visit, the people asked us to pray with them, and their prayer request continues to knock me to my knees in faith since I have been home. “Please pray that we will get a church,” they asked, “because we know God will make it rain.” A prayer for a Church in a place where the sustainability of life depends on water and it had not rained for six months. They live on the Living Water of Jesus. What would it be like to join them?
God spoke the words below on my heart the other day, when I realized I had woken up in Kenya, no longer a ghost of myself, lost to worry and regret, but awake to presence and purpose and excitement and a conviction to listen for God’s plan for me. I am backsliding today, but I won’t give up.
I stood across from them,
and I heard the baby cry
at the ghost in my skin,
and I wondered if she knew
I was a ghost of myself?
I have been home from Kenya for almost three weeks, and it’s as if I think overnight I am going to become a writer. I have waited almost three weeks to post anything to this page because I am afraid. I am afraid I cannot convey the depth of feeling and freedom I found on my trip to visit the Pokot in Kenya. I feel compelled to share every detail and bit of wisdom I took from my trip. God told me days ago what to publish here. And I listened, but not really. I am not a writer, and my mind tells me I can’t just publish the words God gave me. I have to write and rewrite and revise, and ask for input. So I waited. And so you waited. And that really doesn’t do anyone any good. God gave me a story, and though it is short it is meaningful. I am supposed to give it to you.
This image is one of my favorite from my trip. It is a little girl from an area I can only hope I am accurately recalling as Lomada, outside the Kodich Orphanage in western Kenya. The children here were dirty, and they all had runny noses. They walk barefoot on feces everyday. You literally cannot take a step without walking on animal droppings. Hardest of all was the minimum of five hours they needed to walk for water everyday. Despite the harsh reality of life in the Pokot, I have never felt such deep faith, love and compassion from others as I did there.
Within in her eyes, the depth of truth is revealed. If you look closely you will see my image reflected in her eyes. This is the truth of life. We are all each other. We are woven together by a God who sees the intricate and infinite truth that within each of us, is the heart of the other.
God gave me these words:
I could drink for 1000 years inside your eyes.
Their depth pulls me in from outside myself,
And suddenly I am present inside myself.
I am you and you are me,
We are each other.
Give yourself a gift today. Give yourself compassion and grace. When you give it to yourself, you will find it is there for everyone.