Eucharisteo| Practicing Eucharisteo| One Thousand Gifts

Defining moments don’t usually hit you until after they have passed. At a wedding I thought I wouldn’t get the job, for a girl that was as quiet and shy as me, for all of her beautiful friends that surrounded her, I found myself lost in a sea of people that were secure, unusually happy, cheerful, and all got along without one negative thing about them. The fact that this is unusual is sad, but unquestionably welcomed. They all made me feel included when I felt like an outsider. I saw their faith as a path of peace, and in the whirlwind of a wedding day, they were calm but giddy, filled with excitement for their special girl. Lacing up her gown produced some happy tears, but there was not one hiccup between any of them. I found myself becoming slightly envious of their ease with one another, an unspoken but very obvious comfort and safety level with each other. To have this with such a large group of girls is incredibly rare, and I was dying to know how they accomplished this. We were in a church surrounded by speakers, and one of the little dolls decided to put on some music, to which most of them knew the words–uplifting and rejoicing–one of them did a little dance, short and cute, seeming to stop as soon as she saw people watching her. I kept watching these girls, and as I’ve heard before, you have a taste, and another taste, and another taste of witnessing…and then you are ready for a full plate. You want what they have–to share it, not take it–and you want that same peace and desire the same calm excitement and see the beautiful witnessing for what it is. Be Still.
Sometimes weddings give you more than you ask for. Sometimes you don’t realize the amount of fulfillment people give you in return. We artists take jobs not knowing what we’ll get into. We pour ourselves into our work, almost narcissistically, and expect to have everything come back for us to our ego, not to our self. When it comes back to the self, it hits you like a wave of change you welcome, but didn’t know you needed. We can be blindsided by something we didn’t expect, let alone in a place where “we” are usually the center of our own thoughts and processes. These girls. This Praise. This whole-relationship. Their camaraderie. Their love. It’s contagious, in an exceptionally beautiful way. They probably don’t even realize, but they are leading and witnessing by example, and I’m most likely not the first person who has took notice. Not surprisingly, many friends were made that night with these wonderful young women. Pouring your heart out is easy to some people, relating to them is a breeze. How have you handled your friends? Your friendships? Your relationships? They are the living examples of “do unto others”. They inspire artwork, and I asked one to help me out. I was excited to collaborate!
With her sparkling blue eyes, perfect little nose, and long blonde hair, she was a bubble of positive energy, the world was at her feet, she was waiting to see what He had in store for her as she made her plans. I apologized repeatedly for getting our shooting site misdirected, and she stopped me and asked me what I was used to. How do people treat you? What do they expect of you? Why are you supposed to have it perfect? She asked me questions. She inquired about my life, my heart. She wasn’t here to talk about herself. Another lesson in narcissism. “Life is a journey”, she said, and she was along for the ride and was just happy to be there. I struggled with her philosophy, although I’ve been longing to adopt it. We humans are just tiny control freaks, often unable to let go and appreciate what we have simply in the moment. This girl, this soul, is far beyond her years, and introduced me to an inspirational book that came to me in the darkest of times. Coming home to a mailbox that had One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, along with a heartfelt letter was just the comfort I needed on that freezing March day. Learning to practice Eucharisteo has changed me for the better. Finding this practice has given me a grounding to give back, and to find the happiness in imperfection, and to let go of the control that I never had in the first place. Let go. It’s not in your hands, it’s in His.
I’m still learning, and I’ve got a long way to go…but I’m not nearly as lost as I once was. Sitting in Stewart Park in Ithaca, trying to figure it all out…and realizing I’m not meant to figure it all out. I’m meant to just figure myself out and just love the rest. Love your babes. Love the imperfections. Love the not-knowing. Love the process. Love the journey. Love yourself, as He does. He loves you, TOO.
Stewart Park, Stewart Park Ithaca, Stewart Park in Ithaca New York, Ithaca New York

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