From A Once Silent Smile

This is a lyrical essay by Stacey K about passion, loss, and the will to keep moving forward, set to photos by Katie Lutz of a trip to a small village called Tizi n’ Oucheg in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

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i’ve long fancied myself a ‘mover and shaker’, someone who won’t settle for status quo. i’ve chased dreams and caught them, and did a lot of leaving. it wasn’t running away, but choosing to go, to stir things up, to be an agent of change and growth in a community. big changes were something i was always thinking about — how can this situation change for the better? how can i help this person realize their potential? life is so short! rock the boat. get your hands dirty. make something beautiful of this gift of life we’ve got.

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there is a catch, of course, for everyone, but especially those of us who have prayed for a life out of the ordinary. sometimes the big changes aren’t of your own composition. what about when change tackles you from behind, and leaves you dirt-stained and gasping for breath? with a pounding heart and racing mind, fingers claw at thin air, trying in vain to catch things once held dear, after they’ve been jolted from your grip.

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to be sure, this pain can be avoided. a life lived with no passion, no attachments, no investment of the heart — such a life is safe. sudden change and grief and loss is inevitable. but a life of indifference will be merely sideswiped; there wasn’t enough momentum in the first place to truly be knocked off it’s feet.

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but to those whose hearts are steeped in passion, those in hot pursuit of a life extraordinary — unexpected loss and change is eviscerating. the death of a dream, especially through circumstances beyond one’s control, has the power to halt the dreamer in her tracks. when all has crumbled before their eyes, some will spend an eternity digging through rubble, pocketing tiny fragments of what once was.

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for a time, this will be all you can do.

mourn, yes.

pay tribute.

cry.

but there will come a time when a little flame of passion rises within you again. allow hope to betray the desire to stifle it.

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once you’ve watched your dreams die, the boldest thing you can do is to dream again. keep moving forward. stare uncertainty in the face and tell it, oh, i will dream again. you may have changed the landscape, but you have no power over the colour of the sky.

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rising from the dirt — after being covered in it — grants you the authority to see new dreams come into fruition, with a significance that is achievable via no other route than straight through grief and sorrow.

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if you have met defeat, keep on walking. there are adventures yet to be lived, dreams yet to be chased.

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there are stories yet to be told — they will burst out like a song, from a once-silent smile.

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From A Once Silent Smile

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