The Underneath

When the snow melts away, there are stories to be told by the underneath. 

My dogs have are squirrel-y.

They’re chihuahua-mix rescue dogs, so it isn’t surprising. When we go for a walk, they go from wanting to lead and explore to needing my security. If I’m not paying attention, they will be underfoot in a blink of an eye.

When we walk, I walk with my head down most of the time to make sure I don’t step on them. Not a favorite way to walk because the observer in me wants to look around. Plus, there’s that whole walk-with-confidence-stand-up-straight-look-people-in-the-eye thing. 

Today was no different.

We crossed a semi-busy street in our neighborhood with no real destination in mind. With spring in the air, we’re just happy to be outside on a sunny (no pun intended) day. Walking along, head down, I spotted a photo. 

That’s seems surprising these days because, well, who takes the time to have photos printed out anymore? Not me. 

On the photo was a little girl’s face. She was sitting in a chair looking at the camera. In that moment, that’s all I see because…we kept walking. 

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My first thought is, bummer, someone lost a cute photo. Then, it was, “I hope they find it. Maybe I should pick it up. Maybe I should put it on the fence next to me to make it easier to see. Maybe I should keep walking and pray they’ll find it. Oh, I hope they do.”

I hope. 

We sauntered back – the dogs, begrudgingly – picked up the photo and put it on the fence. 

Then, another photo. 

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Rather than having another internal conversation, I picked it up and put it on the fence. 

We rounded the corner of the street and 30 yards later, another photo. 

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Repeat process. 

GAH! Really? Another photo? Internal conversation begins anew. Only this time, it was, okay, what are you trying to tell me, God? Why do I keep finding the photos?

How often do you keep walking?

Wait, what? 

How often do you keep walking, looking only at the surface of your surroundings? How often do I bring someone to you, with a story, only to “keep walking” internally? What kept these photos (people) hidden has been removed. They have a story. Go pick them up. 

Okay, God. I hear you. I’m going back. 

The dogs weren’t happy, but I turned around and picked up each photo wondering what in the world do I do with these now? 

We walked to the area park and most of the winter snow has melted away. After my dogs “got their dog on” (pooping & peeing), I picked up my head and looked at the open field around me. I saw pops of color on the field before me. 

I wondered what they were, but I wanted to keep walking. The dogs wanted to keep walking. 

You guessed it. I went back to get a closer look, only this time I took pictures. All the while I kept thinking, there are stories to be told…underneath. 

The pops of color were balls. Balls I assume that people brought to the park to play with their dogs. Or, maybe some kids used them to play catch during the warm summer months. Regardless, the snow melt revealed these surprises underneath

What else is/was underneath the snow, I wondered? I looked around and outside of the dog poop, candy & food wrappers and the occasional sock, there was nothing of significance. At least, that’s how quickly my mind moved elsewhere. 

I was still thinking of these photos. I was thinking of how to put everything that was going through my head about this photo, what I felt God was telling me and how to put it down into words…so much thinking, not enough awareness of what was around me.

People, kids, cars, homes.

We walked on.  

Heading for home, we went back along that semi-busy street about a half-mile west from where we started. Looking down, trying not to step on my dogs, I saw it.

Another photo. 

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Upside down, near some dead overgrowth behind someone’s house, a photo of another little girl. Or, maybe it was the same one. Or, maybe it’s a little boy. I don’t know. Weather has taken its toll on the face. 

Rain, snow, wind, all of them contributing to the beaten-down, worn out appearance of this photo. Looking down, I see more of what the snowmelt reveals. Broken pieces of this. Discarded parts of that. Someone’s trash. Someone’s (once-believed) treasure.

What once covered and protected it has disappeared and now we’re left with this:

What we see isn’t always what we get. I’ve met people who are one way on the outside and completely broken and angry on the inside. They don’t want others to know their story or what’s going on underneath their seemingly happy surface. 

We see what’s on the surface, but how many of us keep walking not wanting to know their story? If we were to know, we might have to stop and pick them up.

What’s the story of these photos? Who are they? Are they the same girls? The same family? How did they get here on the ground? Who lost them? What happened to the person who lost them? Are they happy? Is life treating them in a way that allows them to be happy?

What’s their story? 

NOTE: If you are in the Spokane area and you recognize these photos or the people in them, please let me know. I’d love to return the photos to them and find out the story.

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Knees Down, Prayers Up

Sunny