Sorry this may seem long. But I tried to keep it short, but I know there is so much more I could and wish to share.
I don’t know how to start this. I don’t know how to tell you of hope, peace or being ok. I can’t even begin to tell you what it feels like when people are praying for you and it does something, because those are feelings for all of us to feel in our own way, in our own hearts and something that can’t be truly shared. But I will try.
But before I tell you about this weekend and the adventures I went on because of the book, you need to know a few different moments that led up to the most recent photo shoot for “the book.” See this time the book had me headed to Grand Rapids. Yes, that place. And not only is that the place where I lost Sarah, I also would be staying just a few blocks away from where it happen. Many would say that it was too soon for me to go back out there. See the back story to Grand Rapids is that Sarah and I would go visit friends out there, see musical performances, and go to some amazing places to eat and to get coffee for myself because she did not drink coffee. We even dreamed together what it would look like for us to end up together living out there. It was a goal, a dream, and something we were excited about. So I am sticking with my promise of doing whatever it takes to finish her dream. I made the plans, got in my car and headed out Friday afternoon for Grand Rapids. Knowing that anything could happen and what did happen shocked me more than anything.
The drive was smooth, calming like most drives and I was not scared or worried about the trip a head. I just put music on and drove. Ironically, I found myself listening to Sleeping At Last. He just came out with a new EP called Atlas: Lights. Sleeping At Last was the reason for Sarah and me to go out to Grand Rapids before she passed away and oddly enough it is one of the few artists that calms me down and helps me get through tough times. Still it helped guide me to Grand Rapids.
Before getting to my friends house, I drove over to my other friends old house were we had spent time before, then drove over to Cherry Village and walked past our favorite deli and shops. And then finally to Wealthy Street, a street that held so many emotions. As I stood there and looked around I saw the same shops and some new ones. People out walking around, there was so much life on that street. That same street that robbed us, robbed me of her. Still as I stood I felt at peace. That hate I once had for this place past and all that was left was memories of Sarah, of some great summer days, laughs, smiles and the adventures we had here.
I drove over to the couple’s house that I would be having a few photo shoots with this weekend. They are amazing people with big hearts and made me feel at home the whole time I was there. It was just an amazing time with them. We had our first shoot that night, which was amazing. It was a wonderful time and I could have not asked for anything better. This is one shoot I can’t wait to add to the book.
The next morning I awoke still feeling at peace and excited for the day, and for the more amazing shoots to come and the amazing coffee that would be had while out and about. Still I think a defining moment, one I am reluctant to share, but feel I must in some way. Was the moment were my friends made me coffee and I sat out on the front porch alone enjoying it. But not just enjoying the coffee but the moment. I sat and thought of Sarah, thought of our lives together, and of all the moments we shared in this city. I even opened my iphone to look through the pictures we had taken the last time we were in Grand Rapids. And I did not have emotions of hate and anger that she was gone like I once would have had, but emotions of love and happiness as I remembered. As I was scrolling through I found a picture right after a few of Sarah and myself. It was a screen shot of a bible verse that read…”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I read it a few times. I don’t know why I had that in my phone or why it was mixed in with the pictures of Sarah and I. But I do know that a few months earlier I know I would be sicken by that, angry and upset because I would have read it as if it was a lie, because she was gone and I was stuck here with nothing, but the reality of grief. But that very morning on that porch only a few blocks away from that very place that changed everything, I knew that there was more to this then I could totally comprehend. I knew that this verse had some truth in it and that Sarah believed in what it said. I finished my coffee, knowing that I could not hate a city, because the city did not do this, I also thought of the people that said that they were praying for me while I would be in Grand Rapids. And for once I could help that it was helping.
The rest of the day was just a big adventure with some of the most amazing people on that side of the state. We had many laughs, great times and some new stories to tell. All the photo shoots we went out one, came out wonderful and I know would be an amazing addition to Sarah’s book. It was an amazing time with couple and I am so thankful for their creativity and scouting out all of the locations and making every spot something perfect for the book.
In my mind leading up to the trip out west, I thought it was going to be different. I thought that it would have been filled with sickening emotions, panic attacks, and memories that would set me back a bit. But it was not that at all. It was a time to remember the better times of our life and relearn that in this God has a plan. I drove home thinking about that and of Sarah. As I drove back to the east side of the state I found myself missing her terribly. Missing our time together and the adventure we would have been on if she was here. Still in my mind there are so many things to think about this past weekend. So many little things to take away and look at; But I know this for sure I miss and love Sarah and I hope that this book will be finished and something she would be proud of.
Another photo shoot down, and another step closer to reaching fin. I am just so thankful and blessed for the friends from Grand Rapids that made this past weekend a great time and some new wonderful memories.