Fear is such a powerful thing sometimes. It can paralyze you. I don't mean in a physical sense...tho one only has to see me in the presence of a snake to know that is possible. No I mean...it keeps you from moving forward. Keeps you from things that might otherwise enrich your life. I know this because for a few years now I have been struggling with a deep fear that has kept me from going where I know God is leading me. And the thing is...I know that this thing God is leading me towards can be very rewarding if I can just get over that fear.
A few years ago, in my line of work, I came across an article about a photographer. Being that I am interested in photography, I read it. I am always interested in how people became interested in photography, what they shoot, what they shoot with, those little things that only seem to matter to people like me with an interest. Well, in this article about this photographer, she mentioned that she worked with an organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. In a nutshell, people who belong to NILMSTS go out on call whenever a baby is stillborn or not expected to survive long...and they do portraits for the parents at no charge. WOW. I thought that was just an incredible thing that people could do. What a gift to give to these parents. And at that time, it never went beyond that thought, that moment. A few months later, I seen mention of the organization again in a magazine. And then again, and again. This is not something many people know about. It's not something commonly published for many reasons. But there it was, tapping my shoulder. Again and again. About a year ago, I came across a blog through another blog that I follow. This blog was about the passing of two little girls who had been born conjoined. I can't even recall now whether these babies were born alive or not but there in the blog were the most amazing portraits of these little angels. And there in print were the parents words of what those images meant to them. I cried. I mean literally bawled. I know deep in my heart that God is calling me to do something like this. That I was given a gift for a reason. And what a way to use that gift. To give someone such a treasure. That would mean more to me than any amount I could ever charge for a portrait of a happy healthy child.
So why the hesitation. Why the fear? Grief. I don't handle grief well. My own a little better than others though. I am so afraid of what seeing that kind of grief would do to me mentally. I can't even state enough how crippling it is to me to see other people in that kind of emotional pain.. I internalize way too much. I guess you could say that I got an over abundance of the empathy gene. I want to do this. I really do. So how do I move past this fear?
I had a dream last night. God once again tapping the shoulder of my sub-conscience and telling me He is not through with this yet. In my dream, I was at a hospital, doing portraits of children who were sick. Some had the tell tale bald heads of cancer, others had disfiguring burns. In the dream, I was surrounded by these children and I was just so incredibly happy. There was no sadness or grief. I know what God was telling me. I know now how to at least get the ball moving on this. I'm still afraid though. But I keep thinking about that last line in Hope Floats about beginnings being scary and giving hope a chance. I'm trying Lord. I'm trying.