I recently returned from vacation down south and as I was riding, I was once again struck sad that Kudzu is taking over everything. The further south I traveled, the more often I saw it along the roadside. I remember that many years ago, I had to go clear to the southeastern part of Kentucky to see it and now I noticed it as far north as southern Indiana. It engulfs everything it comes near — hillsides, trees, utility poles, fences. I even saw it beginning to travel across power lines that ran overhead. In places where people have tried to eradicate it, the landscape is bare down to the earth because to kill the Kudzu is to kill anything living that it has engulfed.
I looked up where Kudzu originated and learned from wikipedia that “Kudzu was intentionally introduced to North America by the Soil Erosion Service and Civilian Conservation Corp in 1876 for the purpose of controlling soil erosion in Pennsylvania.” By now, you’re thinking (if you’ve read this far), what’s the point—another tirade against invasive species. No, that’s not my point. My mind went an entirely different direction.
Kudzu is like sin in our lives. That’s where my mind went. Some well-meaning person back in the late 1800s saw or heard about Kudzu and thought “what a great idea. Let’s bring it to the U.S. to help control erosion.” That person had absolutely no idea what he was starting. Something seems like a good idea at the time, but sin isn’t ever good, and left unchecked it takes over. When I’m sin-filled, I may still look like me, but the sin covers everything. It wraps me up. It covers me over. It begins to smother who I really am to the point where I’m not even visible any more. It’s just the shape of me. Sometimes, sin gets to the point where it kills or disfigures.
Fortunately if I let God be my Master Gardener, He knows how to eradicate sin without killing me in the process. When I cry out to Him and confess my sin, he eradicates it. He forgets it. It never existed in His mind. Even though I may carry scars and definitely have to deal with any consequences, I’m me again. Don’t we serve a wonderful God? I bet the fellow who introduced Kudzu wishes it were that easily eradicated.
Driving in to work this morning, I began to contemplate the clouds. I was doing the same thing I do every weekday morning (although at a different time) along with the same other commuters (although different people and vehicles). The clouds were the same as most clouds I’ve seen (although they were more numerous and moving faster). I began to think that while much of life is the same, it’s always different. The clouds showed me that while I was looking them from one perspective, others would have a completely different perspective. If someone were driving from the East side of Indianapolis, or the North or the South, the clouds would look different. Someone in an airplane flying through or above those clouds would experience them in a completely different way from the way I saw them. I couldn’t see the sun, but I know it was beyond those clouds because I could catch glimpses of the blue sky through the occasional “window.”
I need to keep in mind that while facts are facts, perspective is a tipping point. My perspective is not the same as even the person walking beside me. I must acknowledge that while we both may see clouds, how those clouds look to each of us may be very different. I must not be quick to judge; “Oh, yes! The sun is shining so bright today” when the other person may be below the clouds and I may be above them. “You are wrong and I am right.” No, I see things from my perspective and must acknowledge that you are seeing the same clouds from your perspective.
Jesus Chris, the Creator, is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Heb. 13:8) and knows those clouds intimately. He created them. He created the wind and caused it to blow exactly the way it was blowing this morning. He knows my perspective, and yours. As a Christian, I know that the things that change my perspective, that have happened in my life, are those that He has allowed to touch my life for a reason. I trust that the sun is shining on the other side of that bank of clouds. Even though I only catch tiny glimpses of it, I know that it will shine again tomorrow even if my perspective shows only dark clouds.
On my website (http://cynthiahollingsworthphotography.com) profile, I use the phrase “listening with the heart.” To me it means stopping and being. Just. Being. Sensing all that is around me. Hearing. Smelling. Feeling. Everything more than just seeing what is in front of me. I want to identify whatever it was that caused me to pause. A photographer colleague posted on Facebook some of his beautiful photography; Ken said “I like the fact that the quieter we become, the more we can hear.”
I encourage you to listen with your heart today. Do more than “stop and smell the roses.” Stop until you know why you stopped. What did you smell, see, hear? What did you feel within your soul? Isaiah 30:15 says, “in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”
In night’s deep darkness
When sleep won’t draw nigh
The best source of comfort
Is my Lord’s sweet sigh
Assuring me of His love
His peace that satisfies
We talk, He and I
Of things big and small
Of folks that we love
And the issues of all
Personal and global
He never tires of my call
When finally I tire
I know His vigil He keeps
I’m never forsaken, never alone
Whenever I sleep
In His arms I abide
Forever His child, forever His sheep.
Photography is a passion for me. I can see. I can feel. I can smell. I can hear. And, I want to capture those feelings and emotions with photographs. Sometimes, though, photos aren’t enough and I want to use words. Not necessarily to explain images but as a different genre. With this in mind, I will see how this blog works and if I want to continue building on it.