What was this challenge like for you? I found it incredibly difficult. Possibly the hardest yet for me. It seems weird. Celebration doesn’t seem like it would be a hard theme to photograph, and yet it was! I spent all week thinking about what I would photograph. What does celebration mean to me? What am I celebrating? The whole process wasn’t made any easier by feeling like I didn’t have much to celebrate. Life still feels difficult and uncertain in so many ways.
My daughter graduated from high school last night, (which was something to celebrate!) and yet her future is so uncertain. She wants to return to Canada, but there are no flights out of Kyrgyzstan. We don’t know when flights will resume. How will she get a summer job and make money for school if she can’t get home to Canada? Will she have to sit here all summer…waiting?
My son is still waiting to get married. But the border between the US and Canada is still closed, as is the US Embassy where his passport still sits, awaiting his visa. Will a July 4 wedding happen? Will I be able to be there?? (Again…no flights.)
And so, thinking about celebration this week seemed rather difficult. It almost made me mad! I tried to be creative and think of unique ways to photograph this, and just wasn’t coming up with anything! It was frustrating!!
And then, I was reading a book, and one of the character’s made the comment, “I didn’t come here for easy”. It was just a “random” part of the dialogue, but it struck me. Then, I did a workout one morning, and the trainer was talking about doing hard things, pushing ourselves, moving out of our comfort zones so that we grow. And I realized that that was not just true of workouts, but also of life. And it made me think of a verse in the New Testament: “Consider it JOY, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” And it struck me that sometimes (and I’ve talked about this before) we have to intentionally find joy IN the chaos. In the hard times. In the trials and difficulties of life.
And that’s not easy! But it is what causes us to grow in perseverance, and if you keep reading those verses in James, it says it causes you to become mature and complete, not lacking anything. Kind of like when you work out, and your muscles become “mature and complete”…they grow big and strong. But that comes from lots of hard work. From training hard. From finding a way to make exercise fun and joyful so that you stick with it long enough to see results (at least that’s how it works for me!)
We don’t grow when things are easy. We have to learn to celebrate in the hard. To find joy in the trials. And then we will grow.
So my photos this week may not be conventional photos of celebration, and they may not be the most amazing photos I’ve ever taken, but to me, after lots of thought and musing and contemplation, these photos are really meaningful. They speak to the way I need to celebrate in my life…now, in the midst of the hard.
And really, that’s what I hope this challenge is for you. I hope that through thinking through the topics each week, it leads you to hope, to healing, to seeing God at work in your life, and maybe how to move forwards. The photographs, really, are secondary. They are just the tool we are using to dig deep into our hearts and minds.
This week we are going to explore something new. It can be anything…a new place, an object in your home, a person. Make a case study of something. Explore it from new angles, in new ways, see it with fresh eyes. Explore! And have fun!
Post your photos on Facebook or Instagram. #deepsoulphotochallenge