I almost always carry a camera. At minimum the camera in my phone, but usually also something a little more robust. Photography is a spiritual practice for me, a discipline of opening my soul to the beauty that is all around, reflecting the beauty of the Creator.
Lately I’ve also been cultivating an awareness of beauty beyond the beautiful image. Most often this means an awareness of all kinds of goodness in this world, from the soft touch of a fall breeze to the selfless generosity of one parishioner’s act of kindness toward another.
These things matter. This isn’t just a form of escapism from so much that is ugly and unjust all around us. As the restorative justice activist Howard Zehr wrote in his book titled “The Little Book of Contemplative Photography: Seeing with wonder, respect, and humility,” this kind of contemplative practice is “an avenue of refreshment and insight,” a way to “renew ourselves while gaining new insights into ourselves, the creation, and the creator.”
It’s what we need to be sustained in our fight against the ugliness, and to be reminded of our purpose in that effort.
This week, I introduced my granddaughter, who is not quite 2, to animal crackers, and I think we both agree: Life is very good.