Saturday, May 21, 2016


converging lines
Two of the kids’ spring experiential education projects gave me some food for thought this week. I visited the photography project  just in time for a quiz. As the teacher projected various photos on the screen one at a time, the students had to write down whatever principles or techniques of photography were most evident in each. Fortunately, they corrected the test together right away; as the teacher showed each picture again, the students would call out the correct answer, and often there were multiple correct answers. I was fascinated with my fifteen-minute introduction to the principles of photography.

After the class I was walking down the stairs with one of the students and practiced pointing out things that I could now identify: the stairs became a “repeated pattern,” and the banister formed with the stairs “converging lines.” I pointed out examples of “texture,” and “contrast.” It was done half jokingly, but was also very instructive. Within a few minutes I had trained my vision to see things such as patterns and shades of light that had always been there but I’d never noticed before.

I’m sure that there’s a deeper spiritual lesson there for someone who is supposed to be “seeking God.” What are the ways I can train my eye to see the Lord’s presence where I hadn’t seen it before?


The monastery’s cloister garden has been neglected this year because the monk in charge
Our garden wasn't THIS bad!

was no longer physically up to the task. This past week, however, one of the novices asked my permission to put it back in proper shape. It was awfully overgrown: the grass was more like hay, the shrubs were getting to the stage of returning to the wild. The young monk was wise enough to ask Br. Max to loan him some students from the Gardening Project, who then for two days attacked the urban jungle.
They pulled weeds, dug up unwanted plants, trimmed bushes, hauled away dead flowers and branches and, and tried (with limited success) to cut the long grass. If you didn’t know what it looked like last Monday, then you wouldn’t appreciated the change; in fact, you’d probably say, “Looks the garden could use some attention.” Things are still in process; and even once the garden is “all fixed up,” it’s still going to keep slipping back into the chaotic state it was in last week unless someone keeps tending it.

Watching the mess the garden became as the kids were doing their work, I realized that my life is a lot like that: sometimes when my life seems a terrible mess it’s because God is working on me to help me become more like Christ. And, like the garden, my relationship with the Lord demands constant attention: there is in each of us the tendency to slip back into negligence and sin unless we’re watchful all the time.

I’m sure I'll find even more lessons in both the photography experience and the garden fix-up, but for the moment they’ve given me plenty to work on.

1 comment:

  1. How timely, apt and mindful of the manifest presence of our Lord. Thank you. I needed this bit of encouragement.