Sunday, June 29, 2008

Where Has The Week Gone?

I can't believe that it has been more than a week since I last posted. I wish I could say that I have been feeding the multitudes of hungry people, or battling forest fires, or discovering the cure for AIDS, or travelling the world, but I can't. Sadly, I can't tell you anything significant that I have done in the last week except for the last three days.

I was on a silent retreat this weekend with my Franciscan fellowship. Though we did have meals together and said the Daily Offices as a group, we were in total silence for 24 hours. It was awesome! The freedom not to have to say anything to another person was such a gift. It really was not as selfish as it sounds but 24 hours of silence was an amazing gift.

Before I left, I thought about how I could spend my quiet time productively. I thought about reading a book (something spiritual of course), or writing, or sleeping, but none of these felt right. I finally decided that I would spend the time with my camera. I have many things to learn about it and I seem not to have any uninterrupted stretches of time at home. So I took my camera, a full battery, an empty card, the manual and another book on photography.

After breakfast, I sat down with the book. I read a few pages, checked my camera's manual for specifics, found the appropriate buttons on the camera, read a few more pages and repeated the entire process. As is often the case, the more I read, the more I realized that I did not know. After this "classroom" session, I set out on the retreat center grounds to take some pictures.

Texas in June is monochromatic - brown with a slight hint of green. I had a hard time finding a shot that jumped out and said "take me". Truthfully, I was not really looking for a "good picture", I was hoping to play with some different settings on my camera. This I did accomplish.

We our group gathered to come out of silence together, everyone was sharing the fruits of their quiet time. Some people read from their journals; others read poems they has written; still others read passages from Scripture that spoke to their day; some remained in silence; and I confessed that I had spent the day with my camera. Several people asked to see the pictures, but I had intentionally not taken my computer so I really had no way to share. I'm sure they all thought I had wasted the day sleeping!

When I got home, I put the card in my computer and looked at the images. Though there are no outstanding artsy pictures, I did accomplish my goal for the weekend. I can see in the shots I took those things that I read about. I fell good about what I accomplished though I don't have much to outwardly show for it. Several people asked if I would email pictures once I had had the opportunity to look at them. I offer this one.

This was the one burst of color that I found. I don't mean to imply that the retreat center where we were was not pretty because it was. There were many tall trees and bark covered paths that wound through the wooded areas. There just was not much color variation. I found this flower on a bush outside the house where we stayed.

I still don't know where the other four days of the past week went. I hope that I can make a better accounting of the coming week!