Monday, May 7, 2012

Without Strings

She wanted a camera for her graduation present. How was I going to say no to that: Ever since she told me that she was sorry that she turned down my offer last year to give her the compact Canon I wasn't using, I've been hoping that she might show some interest in going shooting with me. 

I was excited to buy her a camera, but not for reasons that she probably thinks. True, it would be so sweet to share the love of photography especially with one of my children. To go in search of the lights and shadows. To talk about the aperture and what we think is the perfect exposure. But I get that the last thing we generally want is to be exactly like our mothr. Which is a shame really, because when I think about it, my mom is a giving, loving person and why wouldn't I want to be like her?

But what I want for her is to find something she loves that can fill that place in her that others can't fill. I'm not talking about a replacement for God because without him, I don't think my love of photography would be so meaningful. I have found that with photography. My grandmother found it with her piano. Others may find it in writing, painting, building, running, singing, whatever the case may be. I just want her to have that thing which she can do with others and can also do alone that give her a sense of satisfaction and a sense of commune with God.

I was thinking about this today as I was walking about our neighborhood in search of repeating patterns for a photography class I'm taking. I love how I see the world differently when I have a camera in my hand, looking for things that I may have otherwise missed. 

Like a petal on the ground, right in our own backyard.

I love how things that I once would have frowned upon are suddenly beautiful, like graffiti on a wall.

I love how broken, old ratty objects become interesting artifacts, like an old fence. 

I love how the presence of light makes an ordinary view, extra-ordinary. 

I love how instead of feeling alone in my walk, I am conversing with God, asking him if that's the way he feels when he sees us. Instead of a middle aged woman, walking with an old limp, does he see something else? 

I think he does. I hope he does. 

It makes me wonder, what type of conversations did my grandma have with God as her fingers ran across her piano keys? Did she imagine him listening to the chords as she played songs of worship? I only know that during those times of her life when she felt alone, she could turn to her piano and feel better.

I want that for Brie and for Matt. I think Matt has that with his gaming and his writing. But since she was little, she had a way of turning simple into beauty which makes me think she will have a much much better eye than mine.

So it was with great happiness that I bought her a camera, but without strings, because it is her hopes and dreams that are now to be fulfilled, not mine.

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