A New Level of Selfishness

The last few days of the Redeemed Tour I was struck by some intense loneliness.  I longed for a friend to come talk to me and love on me.  I texted and called and sent Facebook messages but no one seemed available.  I knew that it was finals week so those friends were busy doing that and I knew my other friends had their hands full with things related to their spouses having their finals week or that their own families were generally consuming their attention for various, and very legitimate, reasons.  None-the-less, I was depressingly lonely and at a loss for how to amend it.

In a place of complete aloneness I was suddenly struck by a desire to do my very best to be there for my alone friends even when I’m not alone.  Because of this encounter I became painfully aware that it’s not exactly selfish to be forgetful of your friends because of your hyper focus on your own family or life but, since your family is an extension of you, not focusing your attention outside your family is actually selfish.

When I got married I wanted to be different from some of the marriages that broke up friendships.  It seemed to me marriage caused the couple to become exclusive to each other or other couples.  I wanted to be a married woman who not only welcomed single friends but really sought to be the best friend I could be to them by being there for them.

When Josh and I have kids I share a similar desire to the one above. I too often see that family units become a different level of exclusiveness.  I see these exclusive families serving their kids every second of the day but forgetting to reach outside their family bubble.  Serving your spouse and kids is a wonderful, needed thing, but maybe God intended for us to take all the self-sacrificing we learn in marriage and with raising kids out past our family confines in order to better love on those around us.  I want to be the kind of family that welcomes others into our family as if they are our own.  I want to continue to be there for my single and married but childless friends.

Last week I was unbearably lonely.  But as much as I was bummed I couldn’t get a hold of someone to hang out with me I was even more bummed at myself for too often not being there for my friends.  I certainly couldn’t blame anyone for not being there for me if I couldn’t show up and be a great friend first.  I was so personally convicted by how selfish I still am.  Now I can only hope that my experience last week will serve as the catalyst for a major change in my own heart.  I want to be an incredible wife and business owner but I also want to be a better daughter, friend, mentor, and sister.  I want to be there for those I love whenever they need me.  It’s going to be a challenge but I will hope and pray with all my might that I can make the change.  Besides, it’s not only better for the ones I pay attention too but it is much better for me.  I have found that by focusing inward on yourself or your family builds a closed and festering outlook on life.  And I have also found that by focusing my attention not on me and my own but on others, I not only seem to have more time to serve them but I find I have more joy.

Musings of a Musician’s Wife: the good and the not so good of wedding photography

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As a wedding photographer I come across a great variety of weddings from the fancy over-the-top sort to the handmade and on the farm type.  Being that weddings have consumed my attention this month I have had them on my mind a lot.  These weddings become a part of my life for a while because of all the emotions I see throughout the day and because of the emotionally charged atmosphere I take on some emotions myself.  More specifically, I particularly remember the best moments of the day… and the not so good.

The not so good

Divorce is bad.  But it becomes painfully obvious at a wedding as I arrange and rearrange families for various additions and subtractions of people to satisfy everyone’s ideal wedding portrait.  I love making everyone’s dreams come true, but there is always something sad to me when the rearranging is not so the bride and groom can have treasured pictures with the whole family and any individual members they want but to get all the broken sections of family.

Guest paparazzi.  All the point and shoot cameras brought into a wedding become my battle grounds for getting pictures of the bride and groom.  My deepest wish is to have a wedding with no other cameras but my own so I don’t have to compete for attention and don’t have to fight against other people’s flashes and cameras hanging out in the middle of my perfect point of view.

The hand.  This happens most at receptions, some more, some less, but the hand to the camera… please do not do it.  All I can think in moments like that is “but I am doing this for the bride and groom.”

An angry bride.  It’s just scary.

The good

Wedding sermons.  I love wedding sermons.  They never get old to me and it is always a wonderful reminder for me to refocus my attention on the things that matter in my own marriage.

The bride’s grand entrance.  To this day I am on the verge of tears every time a bride walks down an aisle, especially if the groom is crying.  There is something about that moment that stirs up all the good there is to be had in the world and plops it right in front of me.  Nothing else matters in that still moment but the bride and groom locking eyes and everyone else believing in love, even if just for a moment.

Worship.  Josh and I didn’t have worship at our ceremony, but if I were to do it all over again I totally would.  During worship at the ceremony I find myself on the verge of tears yet another time.  If the moments the bride spends walking down the aisle are beautiful, the moments she and her man spend worshipping together on their wedding day are beyond magnificent – highlighting God during the day that marks one of the biggest commitments.

Physical transformation.  I love getting to watch all the women in the bridal party go from bed head and wrinkly comfy, clothes to glamorous princesses.  Sometimes when I later connect with various members I’m confused when I see them dressed in their street clothes as I catalogue them in my brain as the princess I last saw them as.

Perhaps I will add more to this collection over time but, for now, these are the few that have been running laps in my brain.