This book is frankly the most personal thing I have ever done or even shared publicly for that matter. The bulk of my images and writings found in this book were birthed in a time period of life that found itself in a place of more than I could handle.
In this, my posture of contemplation began to take root deep within my soul. But for a few people and writings in my life during this time was I ever able to begin to share my each step with the world. Yet, for many, I was simply being myself. You know, the Gunnar most people came to know I was. Gunnar, the encourager. Gunnar, the one who always seems so positive. Gunnar, the one who is always involved with some good deed or cause.
True. I have tried to be. For through it all, I have begun to learn that a life void of service for one’s neighbor is a heart in need of transformation.
Yet deep inside, still I was broken. And thus through such a dark time in my life, a heart for the contemplative life began to take root. It was my solace. It was my own way of seeking to cheerlead my own soul to a brighter day.
For every image I shared and every piece of writing I wrote that accompanied them, a battle preceded each. But as I have done so well most of my life, I hid it well.. so I thought.
What if I could share something so deeply personal about my own life without it coming off so deeply personal about my own life? Oh how we mask things so well, so we think.
And so I began to find my peace in photography and pondering the depths of life. I laugh though in that for the purist out there with photography (#nofilter), I make no excuses for the fact that many of my images are enhanced to exploit a certain emotion I am feeling.
To be honest, with each picture I have shared, often times to get the image to where it ended was a process much like that of solving a Rubik’s Cube to me, yet was much more therapeutic than removing the stickers and placing them back on accordingly. The other reason I worked to enhance some of my images was quite frankly due to taking most of the early pictures with an iPhone 4 in HDR mode.
To be honest, each word and each image I shared was the result of my own battle for my own soul to hear the cheers of a brighter day. Thus, something so brutally honest was birthed.
They were the result of seeking to make sense with life through the hidden praise of God found within the stories being told around me. If only I would look for them. If I only I would be willing to tell them, the stories. For in them, I found my own stories being told.
Yet, sharing them was difficult. I was afraid. I never wanted to think I was better than I thought. I didn’t want to come off as one that had all the answers. This was just me in the rawest form. And yet for most, they never made the connection. The dots were there to connect, but the pencil was not to be found anywhere near each page and story that I was unfolding and telling.
Fear really began to take root when people, everyday people whom I know, but not intimately, would reach out and comment about something I shared and how it meant a lot to them.
Sometimes I would get a private message, public comment, or even someone would come up to me on the street and share with me how encouraging my work was to them.
My fear in this is that first, I don’t believe it. Secondly, I don’t want to believe it. I just am sharing me. I never want anything I do to lead towards a false sense of who I really am. Too often, we live in our perceived influence of who we think we are. I just want to live in who He knows I am.
A friend messaged me once and called what I was sharing prophetic art and this both humbles me and scares me. One cannot simply turn on and off a prophetic word like a faucet in the kitchen sink. I don’t want the pressure of becoming a prophetic art machine in constant creation mode as I seek to out perform my most recent of offerings.
Yet, for some reason, that description stuck with me as something I need to be in tune with or be responsible for. The use of such a word as prophetic is so delicate. I have always been leery of those who claim such a gift on their own. However, for someone else to speak that over you and describe that which do as such.. it hits you with the weight of deep responsibility that perhaps this is something way beyond yourself. Something that needs respect.
And perhaps this is where I land. Yet, call it what you want. These are simply glimpses of my own contemplative journey as I seek to chase the light from behind the shadows.
I hope you find encouragement somewhere along the path of these stories I seek to tell. I hope that in these stories you will begin to understand three things about your own self and they are that you matter, you are valued, and that you are loved.
May God richly bless your every breath. May God, who has gone before you, place your feet in His footprints. May His love for you continue to pour over you. And may you walk in the constant embrace He has for you with an open heart of surrender in the knowledge that He is your brighter day, He is your eternal hope. He is your salvation.
I never set out to write such a book but for others wanting me to. I simply have begun to find the joy in life of seeking to find the story in everything. To chase daily that which leads to awe and wonder. And to seek not to take that next breath for granted. That last one represents the only guarantee we have in life.
So we step forward in faith, praise, and hope. This is freedom to live. This is chasing light from behind the shadows.
*** The book is in production. Many of my previous posts and images found on this “sort of” secret or at least for those who discover this page and/or have found this page, will be in this upcoming book. I am sure I will have more to say, but as this page is sort of my pseudo private journal from life these past many years, I found it a safe place to get these pondering words documented for those who might carry them next.