Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/members/includes/functions.php on line 21

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/members/includes/functions.php:21) in /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-popup-scheduler/wp-popup-scheduler.php on line 498

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/members/includes/functions.php:21) in /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-popup-scheduler/wp-popup-scheduler.php on line 504

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/members/includes/functions.php:21) in /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-popup-scheduler/wp-popup-scheduler.php on line 505
Little Reminders | Provoketive Magazine
18 Jan 2012

The Author

I am a “middle aged” guy who finds that he is getting more liberal as he grows older. I think that it’s supposed to work the other way around but I’ve never really been a conformist anyway. Since I have begun my journey, I have attempted to vocalize (per se) the many different facets and expressions of that journey; both literal and figurative, In the past couple of years, that journey has taken me into the wilderness and although I would like to say that it took me that entire time to find my way out, I am not certain that I really am out or for that matter want to come out. Now, what you see is what you get. I have found balance between life and everything that it entails and I am probably more transparent now than I ever was. (Depending on my mood of course) Now, I am simply a single dad, amateur photographer, government slave and all-around nice guy trying to get out of the rat race and into nature with camera in hand. Although my focus might have shifted somewhat, it is still my goal to try and share with you the many different ways, albeit twisted, in which I find meaning and expression.


Little Reminders
Winter Sunset

This is an image that I shot just after the new year of the time just following sunset over Lake Pend Oreille in the Idaho Panhandle.  To explain why I chose this time, I will tell you that while I am a huge fan of the golden hour and have been known to take a sunset shot or two occasionally,  my real love is that time after the sun has set over the horizon. That’s when the magic really happens. As I look upon this particular sunset, I am reminded that another year has come to pass and now the sun has set on yet another chapter in history. 2011 was a great year; one full of events both forgettable and memorable. .

On the downside, 2011 almost saw me throw away a career that I love over nothing more than simple perception. 2011 saw me make the move completely away from organized religion and come to a point where I no longer wish to participate at all. 2011 almost saw me walk away from a loving relationship because of selfish pride. 2011 claimed the lives of four very good friends; three of those in December.

Last year was not all about negatives though. God had other ideas for me. He was on top of things and I’m certain that the entire time, he was sitting there with my life map unfolded in front of him; drinking a cup of coffee and grinning from ear to ear while trying not to laugh because his kid had done something completely ridiculous again. I am quite certain that he has passed coffee through his nose on more than one occasion while watching me navigate through this life. In my darkest moments though, He gave me some valuable gifts. For the first time, I was able to put away my selfish pride and instead of projecting out, I found that I could now look inside myself to find, more often than not, the cause of my angst.   Last year, I got a front seat view of what a lot of people never get to see; why it is that I do what I do for a career.  The most important gift was epiphany.   I began to see what is truly important in this life, what is not and how I have been misplacing my priorities.   Last year, I received the greatest gift of all; God’s presence when it was the last thing I expected and more so the last thing I wanted. In a word, I received hope.

Some time ago, a very good friend of mine wrote a piece on Caleb and how he remained determined for 45 years to collect on the promises that God had made him. Caleb was one of twelve spies sent into the land of Canaan to “scope it out”. He was also one of only two people who believed that Canaan could actually be taken. Caleb trusted in God and never looked any other direction. Me? I have a tendency to be one of the other ten. I have a knack for dwelling more on how big the obstacles are and less on the end game behind the obstacles. I am the king of disheveled focus.

There have been two locations that I have found in this world where I felt more at peace than any other place on earth. One is Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. The other is right outside my front door after a new fallen snow. On late nights after a new snow fall, a walk around the city takes on a quality that is seldom seen on a regular basis. There are few or no people out. It is indescribably quiet. If you listen, you can hear the tree squirrels scampering around the branches as they make their infrequent visits to the outside world. You can hear a slight breeze blowing through the city, the sound of a roaring fire from behind the protection of someone’s four walls or even a kiss on the lips of two lovers bundled up in front of that fire. It is peaceful like nothing else.  It is this type of peace that allows me to stay focused and keep my eye on what’s important. This steadfastness is so important because sitting on the other side of the horizon, outside of view is the dark clouds of a storm; lurking around waiting for our focus to be lost. When it is, they will move in faster than any super cell you’ve ever seen and will create more havoc than the largest tornado you’ve ever heard of. Without focus, grey will be the color of your skies and the shape of your outlook. With your focus intact, you can keep the storm at bay; not only from yourself but from others as well.

Ever wonder why the New Year falls in the winter?   It is because laying there dormant underneath all of the ice and snow of winter, the grass, plants and flowers wait for the spring time when they will erupt into a flurry of color, growth, beauty and renewal. Is it any surprise that Easter is in the spring?   “I Make All Things New”.

We don’t have to wait though. At the turn of the clock at midnight on the 31st of December (or for that matter, every other day), we get a “do over”.   We get to start all over again with a fresh slate and bright eyes that look toward the future – a future worth living for and a future worth living in.

[This post is part of the Synchroblog on Hope.  For a full list of participants and posts, go here.]

  1. Mike – Thanks for writing such a transparent piece. I too was surprised a few times in the last year by the presence of God and it was most certainly a significant moment of encouragement to me each time!

    • Hi Liz. I’m pretty certain that in those times when I was at my lowest, I wasn’t focused on God. It’s been a long time since it has been. When I left the organized church, one of the things that I felt the most free from was the belief that all of my time and energy was supposed to be toward Jesus and prayer and worship but what I found out was that when I was devoting all of that time to those things, I wasn’t really doing what he wanted Don’t get me wrong, I have not lost my faith; quite the opposite

      When I am out doing my photography, I am usually secluded or out in the woods; somewhere where the white noise of civilization doesn’t exist. In these moments, I can reflect and that when God speaks to me. Or is it a matter of that being when I listen???

  2. The photo takes my breath away. Your words are brave and honest and true – thank you for the reminder to be mindful of those small things.

  3. Mike – It is so good to hear from you! It sounds like it was a heck of year for you and yet you have perspective. I dig that!

    • Thanks Glenn. I probably have more perspective now that in all of the years of my life put together. Thanks for the props. I miss it sometimes but I just don’t have the motivation to write anymore (at least not as much as I used to anyway). I’m still following you though so every time you post, I’m reading and lurking around!!

  4. Hi everyone. I apologize for my tardiness in getting back to you. This was my first day back to work in about a week and I got slammed! It is 1130 PM and I am just now getting to the post on my own blog as well as finally getting to take a look at some of the others. I will be replying to each of you individually but I wanted to take the opportunity to put out the disclaimer first! 😀

  5. what a beautiful piece. i am not a winter person at heart. i don’t like it for all kinds of reasons but i am learning to embrace the bigger story of winter and how much i can learn from it. your post reminded me of that. (ps: super funny image, thinking about coffee going through God’s nose from laughing about you! :))

Leave a comment

Your Adv Here
Featured Recent Comments

Top Conversations

Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…

While recently visiting a (Won) Buddhist temple, I heard one practitioner refer to Jesus as a Buddha. I was struck by the generosity of calling…

Before I was married, my hairdresser—a divorced man—told me about a woman in her sixties who explained to him the meaning of marriage, the breakdown…

I sat in the minister’s office on a Wednesday night, nervous with my parents seated on either side of me. “Why now?” he asked. “I’m…

A little while ago, I had a very deep conversation with some friends about women in the church. One of my friends strongly holds to…

As I look out into the faces of the people in the congregation I’m speaking to on any particular Sunday, I think to myself once…

I’ve been hearing about a book making the rounds, Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James. Naturally, being a writer and voracious reader, I…

Feminism to me is the crazy belief that women and men are both created in God’s image and that each of us deserves a life…

The parable of the talents, we have been told, is a parable about personal responsibility, a warning of the terrible consequences of squandering our God-given…

This week, a dad disciplined his daughter. And at the time of me writing this piece, that discipline has been viewed over 14 million times….

Your Adv Here