We’ve been on a journey for a number of weeks now; a journey of discernment and discovery into our personal spiritual practices. These posts reflect my own personal journey and I’ve been writing about what I’ve discovered in my walk with the idea that by sharing what I’ve found with you, you might take a look at your own practices and have a deeper walk with the Lord as a result. I have noticed that one or two of you have made similar posts on your own blogs about your discoveries, and I am pleased beyond measure upon seeing them: Way to go!
Last time I told you about my expressive practice of writing and promised to discuss photography today, so here goes…
Photography is something that I used to enjoy as a youth; I even won a few prizes in contests in high school. I was never anything great of course, but it was a lot of fun. I had to give it up when my eyesight started to fade in my 20’s because I could no longer focus and I never thought that there would be the slightest chance of taking up a camera again. A couple of years ago, I discovered almost by mistake that I could use a digital camera set on auto focus, as long as I didn’t allow myself to be too frustrated by the fact that I generally can’t be sure what I’m taking a picture of and don’t mind hitting the delete button frequently when I cut something out of the composition; a roof line, somebody’s head… I thought I had them in the shot but… oh well.
Now I go out on picture trips very frequently, and if I may say so, I think I bring home some decent pictures, for an amateur. We need not get into how many are botched! Here’s what has made it a spiritual blessing for me:
For one thing, when I take a nature shot and upload it I can see God’s creation in a way that I can never see it in life. There are details in creation that I lost decades ago and they are often amazing; I blogged on one such instance yesterday. If for no other reason, this enhanced and renewed appreciation for God’s handiwork has blessed me beyond measure.
Another aspect of this takes place when I post the photos on my blogs. I can’t help noticing that my photos have started popping up in other blogs both here on WordPress and on other blog venues such as Tumblr. It is a blessing to me to see that others are being blessed by my pictures. Understand that everything I post is OK to share or re-post or whatever; I’m not doing this for money (and who would pay for anything I post anyway?)
Next, I sometimes try to take a picture that illustrates something about the nature of God or our relationship with Him, which is to say that I try to look for metaphors and compose them in a photo. Obviously I am at a disadvantage in this pursuit, but when I get it right, I can write a post and preset it with a photo that communicates God’s glory beyond words. No, it doesn’t happen like this very often, but when it does, my cup overflows.
Finally, the whole exercise of making photos and sharing them with others reminds me that we need not be entirely restricted by our outward circumstances in serving God. My wife thinks I should get a white cane, that it would be safer for me when I’m walking around looking for a shot; maybe she’s right. I haven’t done it; I’d really prefer not to call that kind of attention… but it would be hilarious, don’t you think? A blind guy with a white cane walking around taking pictures? The truth is, on more than one occasion, I’ve walked past a scene, not realizing what I walked past, when suddenly a picture comes into my head. I turn to look and see nothing more than a blur, colors, shadows, light… Then I shoot it and move on. When I upload the batch of pictures, to my astonishment, is the composition that popped into my head from ‘nowhere’ and it is the best shot of the day. These are the shots that end up all over the net, as it happens.
When I really don’t want to go out and take pictures, I reflect on this and grab my camera!
Next time, let’s consider what happens when we notice other people…