Mar 30, 2009

contemplative vocation

when i went to college the first time around to study photography, i always knew in the back of my mind that the art of photography was not going to me my life vocation. rather, it was a bursting passion that i wanted to understand more of.  for 2 years i learned of proper lighting techniques, the world of commercial photography, the vast artistic possibilities with photoshop, color balancing, and lived in a dark room with hardly noticeable red safe lights to guide my way from chemical to chemical. i loved every day of this radical adventure.

as i said, there was a quietly breathing intuitive understanding that photography was not going to be the main source of labor in my life. today i have created  my own small and humble freelance photography business that is equally a form of relational ministry as it is an extra way to financially support myself . i am now a 5 year alum and i think i am beginning to taste what it is that god has been leading and preparing me for since the day i dared to say 'yes' to following after him. spiritual direction.

last spring i spent an afternoon strolling through encinitas with 2 of my students. we popped into a used bookstore to see if we could dig up any buried literature treasures. the girls went directly to the romance novels while i searched for the poetry section. i had to get on my knees to find the tiny corner where poetic jewels were kept, but the pain of crawling on crooked wooden planks was well worth the value of my findings. hidden in the over-powering presence of works from poe, dickenson, and whitman lay the mystical words of st. john of the cross. at this time i had never heard of him, but for one reason or another i picked him out of the crowd and opened to the middle of the book. with a few short words i was captivated. 

"how tame and loving
your memory rises in my breast,
where secretly only you live,
and in your fragrant breathing,
full of goodness and grace,
how delicately in love you make me feel!"

it was the colorful lyricism of st. john of the cross that fanned the flames of my interest in the journey's of mystics and spiritual directors alike.

i am currently reading through thomas merton's book; "spiritual direction and meditation". as i turn each page that is filled with the brilliance of wisdom gathered from a life of prayer and pilgrimage, my thoughts wander to the hope that this is the sort of rhythmic ministry god is drawing me into. all through college and the years that have flowed out it it, god has been providing relationships, experiences, pains, joys, and revelations that lead me to clumsily trust this full-bodied hope of learning and living as a spiritual director. 

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