What a beautiful day at the Maitland Art Festival which is held each year on the pathway around Lake Lily! I wanted to go yesterday with several of my kids, but had too much work to do. This morning I had a really hard time getting up and being at all cheerful as I hadn't slept well. My husband has been out of town for a few days, and I almost stayed home from church, which is quite rare for me unless someone is sick. In the end, just two of my daughters - my 12 year old and my 8 year old - came with me and we decided to visit the art festival on the way home. I confess, that was sort of my incentive for going to church.
I'm so glad we went to church, even though it made me cry. Pastor Mike Tilley just started a new series on the book of Ruth, and he only covered the first five verses, in which Naomi suffers a series of losses, including famine, relocation to hostile territory, and the deaths of her husband and two sons. Fittingly, the sermon, titled "Love and Tragedy," was all about loss and our response to it. He reminded us to give ourselves enough time and space to grieve the hard things in our lives - whether it is death or a broken relationship or losing a job or even life just not turning out the way we expected - and not let ourselves be burdened with false guilt or the feeling that God is punishing us. As someone who has had an extremely difficult year, including the death of my mother, this was an especially poignant morning in the pew for me. How sweet for me that my own daughter Naomi sat next to me and gave me plenty of comforting hugs and kisses. She lives up to her name, which means pleasant and delightful. (While I was in the hospital after Naomi was born, I reflected on the book of Ruth and later wrote an article about caring for those who have suffered loss or disappointment. You can find it here: Nurturing Naomi: How to Help Yourself or Someone Else Overcome Discouragement.)
I am also glad we went to the art festival, even though my younger daughter's patience ran out halfway around Lake Lily. I still wasn't in my usual sociable mood, so I was a little shy about asking permission to photograph any of the art work up close. We snapped a lot more pictures of the water birds than anything else. Such cute, fuzzy little ducklings in that last photo with Naomi!
Beauty is so restorative and healing in my life, whether the creativity is divine or human. After seeing all of the gorgeous photography exhibits, I am inspired to keep taking my own nature pictures, many of which end up in my Strength in Hymn series over at Watch the Shepherd.
Here are just three of my blog posts featuring photos shot at Lake Lily, including one from the same art show in 2009.
And one from the Winter Park art festival two years ago:
My haiku on loss: Autumn Breeze (Haiku)
In case you missed it, here is the link for the Naomi article again:
Love and beauty,