The day this photo was taken was during the Easter celebrations in Jerusalem. Since that time I have pulled this photo out many times to remind me of the beginning of a journey that was to bring me back home to where my journey in life began, Arkansas. A woman I was rooming with took this photo and captured aspects of me that were not even known yet.
The workshop that I was in Jerusalem to photograph was led by Khadija Radin, a woman who had at that point become a very good friend. On this trip she would transcend friendship with a piece of advise that would solidify a decision I knew I had to make but felt weak in its implementation.
She said, “Stay strong to your position.”
It was after midnight, and she and two new friends I had come to know while shooting the workshop, were driving me to the airport in Tel Aviv. The year was 2007. Since that moment I have reaped the rewards and the sorrows that were brought on by my decision. And even the sorrows were rewarding. How can a sorrow be rewarding, you ask?
There are moments in your life where you have to make hard choices; choices that at the time feel like they are almost impossible to decide upon. For me, it was choosing a life as a single woman or continuing in a marriage that would, in retrospect, destroy my happiness. I had to walk through those sorrows, and fight the desire to give in and not have the pain. But that would have proven to be a foolish decision. The pain of not making the right choice would have been far greater and have much further reaching ramifications than the one I did make.
I remember at one point being so confused. There were so many things to be considered; move to Arkansas, not move to Arkansas. Stay in Maui, move from Maui. Sell the house, keep the house. One day, totally overwhelmed by it all, I walked into my walk-in closet and laid my head on my arms on the sill of the high window at the end of the closet and cried out, “I don’t understand.”
This vision of a very long train, with hundreds of boxcars came into my view from the right. Each boxcar had a word on it: Kentucky, Photography, Travel, Arkansas–endless options. It was at that moment that it became very clear; as long as I walked in integrity to myself and what God had taught me I would be ok, no matter which option I chose.
When you come to a point where you are so confused you give it up and surrender, that’s when the vision clears and your options appear, and the confidence to step out on your journey arrives. But you must stay strong in your position; it isn’t a journey to be made alone.