A New Normal by Kirbi Ward

Covid-19: I didn’t lose my life

Jenifer Lee Casten plays guitar in front of Kankuz gas station in Chattanooga, Tn on Sunday March 28, 2020. (Photo By: Kirbi Ward)

Slowly then rapidly this pandemic has changed the way we live and I am here to document different aspects of it from my college home in Chattanooga, TN.

Thursday, April 2, 2020.

Jenifer Lee Casten was playing guitar for money on the side of the road near a gas station when I drove up. I decided to listen to her play for a little that day. I later asked her how she was doing and she looked at me and said, “Honey I lost my job but I didn’t lose my life.”

We spend a good majority of our life planning out our life. We spend an even greater amount of our time making sure those plans will help us arrive safely at our destination. When we put our identity in our plans we become lost because life will never stick to our road map. It is not always bad to make plans and plan them out safely. We just can’t put our faith in it because at the end of the day it is fickle. We are living in a time where life has taken our plans, crumpled the road map and thrown it out the window. Let us not get stuck in a safety net of a promise to return to our past plans when things “resume”. Let us use our faith and our promise of better and consider them green lights to keep moving forward no matter where our plan says to stay. 

Covid-19: Attention vs. Intention 

Slowly then rapidly this pandemic has changed the way we live and I am here to document different aspects of it from my college home in Chattanooga, TN.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The world is on a mass reset, but intentionality is on the rise. We have started to eat dinners together, pray for each other, and serve each other again. While people are worried, they are worried together. I have spent more time with my friends than ever before.

With my free time, I started to look back at my childhood photo albums my mom had left me. That is what sparked my realization of how much times have changed. Not just times, but people too. As children we didn’t need to have constant validation, we weren’t looking for approval of our good deeds or promotions. We just did things. To put on a show in life requires attention. Taking a step back and seeing our stages are gone and our spotlight is turned off maybe we will realize we were playing for the wrong crowd the entire time.

I met a homeless man named Sergio last night when my dog got out. He helped me catch my dog and we talked for a long time about life, the pandemic, and the future. Eventually I asked if he needed some dry clothing because it had been raining all day and he was soaking wet. I brought the clothing to him, and he asked me if I needed some clothing in return. I politely declined, but I woke up to a shirt on the bottom of my steps hanging. We all have something to offer each other, and right now we are all on the same playing field of life. It’s a beautiful thing that we have stopped seeking attention and started seeking intention because in a time like this that’s how we pull through.

Meet the Storyteller

Kirbi Ward

Kirbi Ward works as a photojournalist and a documentary photographer. She has experienced working in photojournalism in nicaragua, zambia, and chattanooga, TN. Kirbi recently won an AP award for her photo portfolio at the Atlanta photojournalism seminar. She is Currently studying communication with a minor in sociology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is most passionate about telling stories through her photographs. Contact her at wkirbi@gmail.com.

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