God has a way of granting me little gifts to help soften the blow of when life doesn’t go my way. It was early autumn 2021 when I had escaped into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to photograph the beginning of the fall foliage. I’d been waiting all summer for this day and cleared my schedule of all conflicts for it, or so I had thought.
I had just wrapped up a sunrise shoot and was setting off to another location when my cellphone rang; it was my ex-wife Ruby.
“Yeah Rub?” I answered.
“Hey, you need to pick up Christian (our son) from school today, they have a half-day, and I will be at work, so you have to do it.” She told me.
I was not pleased, as you can imagine, because the half-days (which the school systems in North Carolina like to pepper the calendar with) mean you have to pick your child up at noon. This schedule change would now destroy my plans on what I had thought would be the perfect autumn day for shooting some photos in the Smokies.
Before you ask, “Why couldn’t he ride the bus?” Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and labor shortage, they had canceled his bus route home, so I was the only option.
“Ok, I’ll get him, bye,” I grumbled back.
I hung up and started the two-hour drive back to Asheville to make sure I was on time to pick him up, mumbling angrily to myself all the way. That is when God reached out and tempered my spirit by turning my head briefly as I drove to see a footbridge that crossed a mountain creek along the road. Without even thinking, I pulled over, grabbed my gear, and quickly ran to the bridge, where I saw the sun breaking through the tree canopy over the creek.
This was God’s gift to me, a fantastic moment of His artistry to capture and share with you. It quickly softened my heart as I stood there praying, “Sorry Lord, I am truly blessed and need to remember that when things don’t go exactly my way. I truly have ‘Freedom’ to live my dream and that is thanks to you.”