This desert is a wasteland. The heat is enough to scare you inside through most operable hours of the day. There is a scarcity of the color green that I'm so used to and it is replaced by yellow and brown tones that resemble a 1970's gathering at a hippie commune. You could say that nothing is beautiful in the desert and some would never argue against you. If not for the irrigation canals, this land would be only where you would come to die. Nothing could survive here.
But I am a wasteland. And I operate at my most driven in a desolate landscape, feeling personally devoid of much emotion right now, except for the quest to keep trudging along each day, finding just enough water to survive and barely enough shade to cover my skin from the scorching sun. There's so much that I want to say and have for months, for years, but it's as if my mouth is so parched from the constant digestion of dirt and sh*t, that I can't really get the words out. I, am a wasteland. Desolate. Afraid. Cowardly. I hurt, therefore I hurt. I'm fearful of failing, of saying the wrong things, of asking someone to spend 3 minutes with me, so that I can convey something much more than a photograph. I'm deathly afraid of abandonment, yet I sit alone throughout most of my days, because if I don't let people in, I can't be left. When I do let someone in, really, truly IN, I'll make you love me so much that when things finally turn south, you end up hating me at the same level that you loved me. I'm afraid that because of that, I'll never actually know what it's like to have something real. I'm afraid of never being good enough or of feeling adequate in what it is that I do. Fear is what drives me, but fear is also what destroys me. I'm afraid that just because I drive a crappy car, my worth is determined upon first glance. I'm afraid that my career will never take off, despite mountains of effort behind it. I'm afraid that my daughters won't ever really know me, because all I've been is mistakes. For five months this year, I operated completely and utterly out of fear and it destroyed me. From the soul out, I lost everything. You can't write this script if you tried.
It is in this wasteland, where I woke up this morning and played a song that always brings me a truly powerful feeling. A song with more moments of pure instrumentation and only 6 lines of lyrics. As the song crescendos, the only moisture that I feel inside of my body ends up running out of my tear ducts. It's possibly because as I listen to this song, I realize that we are all a wasteland. None of us are worthy, sinfully depleted of what is good and pure, honest and right. It's in this wasteland that if I look up and out, I see that I'm not alone. As much as I try to distance myself and ruin what hope I have, I've always been reminded that God is here, waiting. Right next to me, as I seek death and destruction, genuinely seeking to put an end to my fear and self loathing. If all I am, is a guy with a camera, a question, and the need to tell my story, then without meeting God in the wasteland, I'd still be roaming, looking for things that I don't need, filling voids with unhealthy addictions or desires.
Here, in this wasteland is where I feel like my voice is the loudest, because the desolation is the quietest. It's here, that I can cry out, with all the fear in my heart and just let it go. "Oh God, Save me! Save us all!" Because this fear, oh, God, this fear, it destroys me. It destroyed us. We run from this fear, because we think that our God isn't big enough to carry our burdens. If we don't run TO Him, we'll always be running AWAY from the only real hope that there is. Whatever your burden is, however deep your fear, no matter how great your shame, I know this: There is not a single one of us who walks this earth who is greater than the next. We all are different variations of vile, sinful, and awful. No mistake is too great, no act beyond forgiveness. Grace is offered in a way that most of us could never even fathom. What are you afraid of? Oh, god, save us all.
#UntilWeMeetAgainProject Day 18. Photo and words inspired by the song "Desolate Earth :: The End Is Near", by Underoath. Song can be found below. Images shot with my D700 on a Sigma 50mm Art Series. f/2.8, ISO 250, 1/8000th of a second in just over 3 minutes. Tiffany was so kind to be my portrait today, after commenting to me that I was a complete doppleganger for her boyfriend. I had to let go of a fear that I've had for awhile and just ask.