Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gifts From God

Well, i'm not sure if anyone still checks this blog - can't say that i would blame anyone for having given up. But when i'm posting my own pictures, or pictures that i took for myself vs. a client, it takes me a really long time to go through them and pick my favorites; Which is probably pretty obvious considering how many pictures i usually post at a time. But hey, i figure posting 10 or even 20 pictures out of a couple hundred (or thousand) isn't too bad. It's especially hard to virtually discard images (by not posting them) because even though some of them might stink, i like them all.

But when the pictures are for someone else, i like to think i do a reasonable job of getting them posted in a timely manner - at least relatively speaking.

Photographing nature, and the outdoors in general has kind of always been my passion. I've always felt that nature, this world, and all the beauty in it must be God's greatest gift to us. The beauty of nature has always been one of the primary pillars of my belief in God.

And although i still believe that, every time i see an infant i can't help but think that perhaps life, specifically as it is found in babies and children in general is His greatest gift to us. And thus the miracle of life and children represents another significant pillar of my belief in an Eternal Nature of Life.

But of course what would life be (to me, at least) without this beautiful world to enjoy; and not only enjoy, but to share with loved ones?

And so it's ironic that while on the one hand the gift of life reinforces my belief in God, nothing shakes my faith so hard as when it is taken back. He doesn't even have to take it back, just the threat makes my faith tremble. And never more so then when children are concerned - God's most innocent and precious gifts.
For those of you that don't already know, this is Grace, my newest niece; and the only niece from my side of the family. She was born to my youngest sister, Alysia, and her husband, Topher on the 18th of March. We knew well before her birth that her heart was not fully developed and that she would require extensive medical assistance after her birth. The full details are available here on Alysia and Topher's Blog.

My sister and her husband have been incredibly brave and their faith has been an example to everyone around them. And of course baby Grace is beautiful.

And although she's so beautiful it's so hard to go and see her hooked to so many machines with her life in such a delicate balance.

These pictures were taken before she was put on the respirator and my heart sank each time i saw her little face wrinkle up in what could only have been pain at so much discomfort. As much as i love to see her and hopefully through my touch and voice be of some comfort to her, a part of me shrinks from having to witness so much pain subjected to one so unworthy of it.

And of course, as with just about every sorrow i encounter, i can't help but wonder why God would allow this. But in most cases i'm eventually able to see that most sorrow is a result of our choices - even innocent ones.

I understand that while it wouldn't necessarily be difficult, per se, for God to stop "bad people" from doing bad things to "good people", it would be difficult for Him to accomplish His greater purposes if He was always stepping in to intervene.

And i suppose i can even understand that the simple choice to climb a mountain or go snowshoeing, or even drive to work accepts a cetain amount of natural risk. A risk we somehow overcome by thinking it can't happen to us or by simply weighing it against the alternative which would be to sit in a padded room for the rest of my life.

As much as i want my family and specifically my children to be safe, i could never take away from them the opportunity to experience all the wonderful aspects of life simply because something bad could happen - although i must admit i'm tempted occasionally.

But i can't even begin to understand how God could give such precious and innocent gifts to only take them back so quickly when the only choice i can see is His. But i suppose if i understood everything then i'd be God and what kind of Universe would that be?

Well, i should probably stop, although i doubt anyone is still reading. i'd like to say that at least this experience makes me more greatful for the life and family that does surround me - and i suppose it does a little, but at the same time it scares me more for the safety of my family. Especially when i realize there are so many things out of my control and it seems like God is so, well, unfair.

What more can i say then that your prayers in her behalf will be greatly appreciated. i hope she gets to stick around with us for quite some time yet - besides, her cousins wouldn't think it fair if she didn't get subjected to the same harassment as them by their uncle.


Kari said...

Alan, I hope she is okay. I hate it when babies are sick. She is beautiful though.

princess jen said...

What good pictures of Gracey you took! What good work you do. I love you.

Super Daysh said...

That was a beautiful blog. So well written and just...touching. I know exactly how you feel about it being somewhat unfair. I have found that the only way to get over that feeling, is to not think about it. I know it's a great way to cope. But I figure if I forget about it long enough, she will get better and then by that time, I won't have any need to be bitter because she will be healed. I haven't lost faith in a miracle, but if not, I know there is a purpose in all things. I don't get it now, but hopefully someday we'll understand. Really, I loved reading your thoughts. Thanks so much for sharing and for all the sweet pics of Grace.

Mythreesons said...

Beautiful pics Alan. And I'm all for padded rooms, as you know. Personally, I'd like to pad the whole house and be hermits with my kids. I'm just worried about them getting too weird then...
I appreciated your thoughts and also find myself terrified at what the future holds. But I'm trying really really hard to hold out for a miracle. I know it's possible. I'm so glad you got these sweet pics of Grace.

Taylor said...

Great Pics. You should definitely come up and take some pics of Mad. She isn't very photogenic, and thus requires a very good photographer.

And, thanks for sharing your thoughts about baby grace. i cry everytime I read their blog.

The Andersens said...

thanks alan. those pictures are beautiful. and i also loved reading your thoughts. its good to know what everyone's thinking and feeling. thanks for loving her so much already, even though you barely know her. :) and thank you for taking the time to post such beautiful pictures and your own thoughts. :)
love buggy

Sara & Company said...

I don't know why the pictures aren't working for me today, but I'll check back. I saw a few on Dacia's blog and they were amazing of her. Your thoughts were beautiful too.

Carl & Karen said...

An awesome post, and you said what the rest of us are thinking. Thank you! I don't think you lost a single reader :>)

Carlee Hoopes said...

That was beautiful. You are an excellent photographer.