Unedited

We were in Denver for a wedding last weekend. The morning after the wedding, I wanted to attend the family endeavor into the mountains, but my and Ethan’s flight back home left six hours before everyone else’s. We were going to have to get tricky if we wanted to do anything before we took a cab to the airport. We decided to wing it and do what everyone else did since we don’t get to spend much time with our Colorado family. Of course, outings that are “winged” aren’t usually executed seamlessly. We left the house an hour later than planned. We had to stop to pick up another family member. We missed a few exits. We took the scenic routes. We ended up arriving at our destination with exactly 9 minutes to spend there before Ethan and I had to leave (4 of which I spent throwing up). I didn’t get any photos of the escapade except for this one:

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Maybe my nausea from the drive was caused by the fact that I’d had a little too much to drink at the wedding the night before, or maybe it was because I’m not used to being sloshed around in the backseat of an SUV that’s swirling up and down curvy mountain roads. All I know is that I was using every ounce of my energy during the ride to hold in my vomit until we got to wherever we were even going. On the exit ramp of one of our wrong turns, I looked out the window long enough to catch glimpse of the above scene. I grabbed my camera, and clicked the shutter on whatever setting I’d last used it.

The picture was taken through a car window. It’s completely unfocused. The shutter speed was way off. I was very much not on a relaxing Rocky Mountain hike when I took it. But no one looking at this photo, especially if I edited it, would ever know any of that or the story that I just told.

The thing is, I could’ve cropped the road out of the shot. I could have sharpened the image and messed with the contrast to make it look totally intentional. I could have put it on social media with a John Muir quote as the caption and let everyone assume that I was on a peaceful, self-reflecting, mountainous walk when I saw this view and snapped a picture to memorialize the day.

I get that it isn’t that great of a picture; I’m not trying to say that it is. But my goal when I take photos has always been to accurately capture a moment and let the memory be the work of art, not necessarily the photo itself. This image so truly represents the moment in which it was taken. I guess I’m admitting all of this to remind myself of the definition of authenticity and place emphasis on the reality that you’re not always seeing the full picture when you see a single snapshot from someone’s life.

I’ve avoided posting lately because, well, my recent writings aren’t uplifting or encouraging or especially faith-fueled or anything that I wish they could be. Remember that caged up feeling I described a few posts ago in situations where I have to hold my tongue? Yeah. It’s real right now.

When I don’t share about the good AND the bad, then I’m not giving the full account of the story I’m telling. If I don’t share about the dark moments, then the light moments aren’t displayed as brightly as they should be. Not to mention the fact that if I don’t share about my valleys, then God isn’t given the full glory He deserves when I’m back on the mountains.

So, this has been my justification rant for the fact that my next few posts aren’t full of redemptive moments or kindly worded heart-to-hearts with people that care for me. But, they are real. And that’s what I need to be.

Liv – Authentically

“The Middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens.”

-Brené Brown

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