Over the years I have picked up many bits of glass, pebbles, leaves and shells that are heart-shaped and have also amassed a rather large collection of photos of objects in the shape of a heart. In some ways I think that’s a bit embarrassing and sentimental, but I actually find the shape very beautiful, partly because it is so simple. This morning, as I was taking my son to school, I saw this white stone in the gutter. I thought it was interesting as a photo and thought it might be worth reflecting on the strange and unlikely places we can sometimes find love, beauty and other treasures.
Later, I met up with a friend who has also been taking photos throughout Lent (one day I’ll get her to show you some as she is a stunning photographer). We have talked about our Lent photos several times over the last three weeks and have been amazed at the number of occasions we have been drawn to very similar subjects. In our conversation she mentioned that earlier in the day she had been taking photos of various things that had been left in the gutter, reflecting on how beautiful many of them were despite having been over-looked by passers-by. After taking one photo, she looked up and saw a homeless man sitting in the gutter with his dog.
She was very moved by the symbolism of this over-looked human being in the gutter and they struck up a conversation. They talked about photography and various other subjects and then he said to her, ‘Take a photo. Don’t take one of me, but you can take the dog. She’s called Beauty.’
Today I went to a Thanksgiving service to remember a dear member of our church who died on the first day of Lent. He was 88 and had been attending the church for over 60 years.
It was a beautiful service and it was moving to reflect on the life of a man who had been adopted after being born in a workhouse, but then went on to have an extraordinarily happy marriage and successful career.
I took this photo because the flowers were stunning and I love the way the silver cross can be seen in the top left of the photo. It helps me to remember a good, kind, humble man who lived a beautiful life centred on many of the things that matter: faith, service, courtesy, humanity and love.
I walk past this bench every day I go to work and it always makes me smile. It’s facing a very busy road which is usually full of almost stationary cars at 8.00 in the morning and is not the sort of place I would particularly choose to stop and enjoy a rest. To be honest, I’ve never actually seen a person sitting on it.
The bench has words carved into it: there is a dedication and then the phrase ‘Seize the Day’. It’s always struck me as a slightly incongruous mix of messages: I am being invited both to sit down and take a rest whilst also being told to get on and grab as much as I can out of the day while I still can.
Today I reflected that perhaps the messages are not so incongruous after all. Perhaps by allowing myself to be still and to rest deeply, I can somehow be open to all that is offered to me in each unfolding minute. Perhaps I can somehow manage to seize the day with hands that remain open – not grasping onto what has just passed or grappling for what I hope will come next – but open to touch lightly (and engage fully) with what is now.
Thank you for reading. If you are interested in looking at photos that others have taken in response to this challenge, you can follow Shelley here, Sharon here and Lisa here. We have also recently been joined by Louis who you can find here.