A good friend of mine came up with this idea a few years ago and this is the year I am going to try it: one photo every day for the 40 days of Lent. Lent is not necessarily a time to give something up (or even to take something up), but a time in which we can shift our focus, can look at, consider and reconsider our journey in a thoughtful way. I plan to take one photo a day and to reflect on why I find the image meaningful. I’d love it if some others wanted to join in too, possibly sharing some of their most thought-provoking images and reflections with the rest of us.
Although I intend to take a photo every day, I know already that I won’t be able to post something here quite so regularly (and I also don’t want to inundate your inboxes!). So I plan to post my photos and reflections every few days and also to keep up with the other posts I have planned.
Today I should have been at work, but I woke up this morning with a splitting headache and then started vomiting. This was not my plan for the day…! It is my daughter’s 14th birthday and I wanted to be able to focus on her and make her day special even though she’s had to go to school. Instead, she got a Mum who found it hard to concentrate during the card opening and couldn’t face the traditional slice of birthday cake for breakfast. It is the first day of Lent and I intended to go to an Ash Wednesday service at the school where I work. Instead, I’ve spent most of the day in bed feeling wretched and won’t be getting to a service at all. It was an absolutely beautiful day outside this morning and I would have really enjoyed my walk into work and keeping an eye out for the perfect ‘first photo’ for this post. Instead, I’ve been inside all day and haven’t got the energy to find that perfect shot.
So for me this first photo is all about imperfection. I find the metal bird very beautiful (and also poignant as it was given to me by my Mother-in-Law who is now in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s) but there is also something sad about its inability to fly (or even to stand up straight as it has no feet!). When I took the photo, most of my attention was drawn not so much to the bird, but to all the dust on the shelf on which it sits, setting off a trail of thoughts about my inability to keep on top of the housework and questioning whether or not I should be spending time writing when there’s so much other stuff which needs doing. How appropriate! As an individual I feel deeply drawn towards the symbolic, I want to immerse myself in the meaning of the ashes for Lent, I want to create meaningful posts which encourage others in their journeys (like Jan Richardson does here)… Instead, it is from ashes to ashes, to from dust to dust: the everydayness of an imperfect dusty shelf in an imperfect dusty life. And yet not a life without meaning.
An imperfect first day then, a day that has not been what I planned for or wanted. The start of an imperfect Lent which will be meaningful, but not necessarily in the ways I intend or expect it to be.