Friday, February 11, 2011

Days of Gray Photo Challenge

It was almost exactly one year ago that this picture was taken, as a part of Erin's photo project during those long months of Feb/Mar, to find beauty for 30 straight days. This morning there happened to be a lemon in my kitchen and it reminded me, as it sat there all fresh and sparkling in the light, of how much I enjoy those kinds of projects.

This time of year in particular, with or without the addition of difficult life circumstances, it can be hard to keep your head up. The holiday celebrations have subsided, winter has been carrying on for quite some time (in the northern hemisphere anyway), and the landscapes seem to have lost their wonderland-like luster. Instead, this final march toward spring can start to feel like an endless dragging on of gray days.

Yet, lurking beneath all this doldrumness, there is an unseen source of life waiting to show it's hopeful face. And if we are willing to look, to see, there is always evidence of it.
I know that can sound a bit abstract and vague-- but I do believe nature in all of its physical wonder reflects spiritual realities that are just as true and sure. This picture and its caption, taken by my sister-in-law, is a perfect example of that partnership.

Having said that, I realize it is a bit "vogue" to pursue living in the moment, or to see goodness in the ordinary, and there are definitely some truths to those sentiments. We all know it is easier to write about than to actually do however, and sometimes you need to see a bit further than just the moment you are in. You sort of need near and far sightedness at the same time. I need to appreciate the ordinary, but just as often I need the awe of the transcendent.
The past couple days I've been musing on something I read about cynicism. One idea in particular was that we can tend to be either people with a naive optimism (hoping- but in nothing of substance or reality, kind of like hoping because hope itself is beneficial) or cynics who, "seeing through everything" (as cynics do) end up seeing nothing at all.

Instead, this writer called us to be People of Hope- living in the tension of Hoping in someone Real and Good, while seeing the realities of this fallen world. One of the several ways he offered to combat the poison of cynicism was to choose to see God working instead of despairing or explaining it all away. Another way was to cultivate a spirit of Thanksgiving.

In the spirit of those ideas, and because at this specific time of the seasonal cycle I have a personal need to be challenged to see and to give thanks, I am going to use these next 25 days until Lent begins to document some of the daily goodness I am attending to with a lens. There are other ways I'll be trying to do it as well, but the one I will share online here for the most part will be in photos and maybe a smattering of words here and there.

There are multiple mediums that seem to help me see past the shadows of this world and the blindness of my own eyes and heart. One way is photography, another is writing, or serving others, praying, washing dishes, even running. Are there activities or mediums that help you? I invite you, if you feel anything similar to what I do at this time of year (or time of life) to join me in this 26 day long challenge. I'd love to hear your comments, read your emails, or simply view something you have to share (feel free to leave a link in the comments).

Thanks again to Erin for the original idea.
I'm calling this one... Days of Gray {a winter photo challenge}

if you'd like a button, grab one on the left


  1. Oh, I loved to join you! My words aren't as beautiful as yours but I'll give it a go :-)

  2. I accepted your challenge and shot a pumpkin. Here:

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