My dad has this saying, “Wherever you go there you are.”
It used to drive me absolutely crazy, and I’d do anything to keep him from saying it. But in the midst of one of my lowest points several years ago, it clicked.
I have often done this thing where I get so focused on a goal, that I neglect the ‘are’ of where I am right now. I would throw myself so much into the preparation of what’s to come, that I ignore what’s here, pushing aside something to be enjoyed in the moment, for something that was to come.
Now, that’s not all bad. There is good in discipline, dedication, and determination, but not when those things come at the expense of fellowship, and contentment. Not when those things have you so focused on the future, that you don’t have time to spend with your people.
In this particular low point, I vented this realization about myself to my mom. She wasn’t the least bit surprised. (Of course not, she’s my mom.) “Laura.” She said. “LAURA. You’ve been doing this your whole life. Be here. Be present.”
In the Moment
Mom was right. I never lived in the moment. Even though I may be there, my mind had already moved on, beating me to that deadline, the end of the trail, or whatever conclusion my imagination could reach long before time ever takes me there. I followed God just so long as to make sure the next step was really what he had for me, but once I had supposedly understood that, wherever He had placed me for that time suddenly became null and void, dull and gray. Somewhere to leave, the ‘old’ place, the ‘old’ part of my story.
My mom’s challenge terrified me at the time. Allowing myself to be where I was meant ache. It meant acknowledging that I wasn’t as resilient as I wanted to think, that I am not in control. That meant living life moment by moment, not ignoring life for some future event, goal or dream. It meant being thankful for what God had given me right then, even when it hurt.
Wherever You Go, There You Are
I’m sorry for making this so dismal, but here’s the point – when my dad would say, “Wherever you go, there you are,” it drove me nuts, because I never felt like I could enjoy the simple, small, happy, sad, hurting, joyous moments, because there was always something to do, some status quo to be reached, some goal toward which to work. I was so focused on material things, on material moments that I would often miss the moments that mattered most in life.
Being present where I am can still be hard for me, but it is part of the reason I have come to so love and appreciate the small, fleeting moments in my daily life. My husband’s kiss as he runs out the door for work, the Colorado sunshine when I head to the nearby football field to sprint, my nephew’s giggle when we FaceTime, getting to spend time in the mountains with old friends.
Small Moments Matter
It took a long time, but I (very) slowly learned to find the beauty, the joy, for what there is to be grateful in the simple moments. I began to see the moment I used to think the most mundane as worth remembering, worth documenting even. I didn’t want to look back on my life and wish I could do it over, so I could actually be present at those family birthday parties, weddings, and Summer shenanigans.
Learning to live and love those small moments is at the heart of why I photograph the way I do. It’s part of my why. I want you to be able to relax, be real, enjoy time with your family, and be in that moment. When you look back at the images I’ve created for you, I want you to feel the emotion, to relive that moment, and remember your family, your real life as it is now – not your to-do list or deadlines. I want you to be able to be in the moment wherever you are.