June 8, 2010

finding purpose in photography

In the last number of years I’ve been scrapbooking, I have enjoyed taking pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures (I’m most grateful for the invention of the digital camera)!  Mostly pictures of my children and family or of the events that touch of our lives.  In the past year or so, there’s been a new energy for photographing nature and the surrounding beauty :: bits & pieces of the outdoor world that really went unnoticed before.  By the way, thanks for the compliments on the photographs of our vacation!  I treasure the ones posted (and the other several hundred that were taken. Ahem.)

I recently commented to someone that this snapping of nature photos is my preference :: “I really don’t like taking pictures of people outside of my family” was jokingly said, but in reality it’s fairly close to the truth.  The person I was sharing with takes beautiful photos of others ~ somehow, this avenue just doesn’t inspire me that much (I’m still a good person, right? :o)

But in the last few days, I’ve changed my mind.  Radically.


On vacation I began this book, a story of grief and loss mixed in with joy :: a family’s journey through the difficult set of circumstances of losing their baby girl two hours after birth (and knowing all along she would not live long).  It was all I could do to read the first few chapters; while my situation is altogether different and one that hasn’t found words in this space…the delicate dance of grief and joy is our family’s current reality and the tender words of the author were too much.  And so I moved on to other books.

But I could feel a prompting to return, to look back through the pages and to continue reading.  I’m so glad I did.

For in the pages, I discovered an organization that stuck a deep chord inside of me and prompted a conversation with my spouse of how I could be involved.  Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep was founded in 2005 by parents who lost their baby and whose mission is ‘to introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the free gift of professional portraiture.’  A group of more than 7,000 photographers around America and in 25 other countries who volunteer their time and gifts to grace those hurting with pictures of their little one. 

For free.

Oh, how my heart was moved.  I could take pictures of this group of people, yes I would want to.

And while at this very moment in my life, there is not the freedom to pursue right now (my preference!), I hear the voice of Jesus calling me to sharpen this skill and love for photography :: as I shoot and capture my children’s antics or a baby’s smile, to learn more and grow more comfortable.  And one day, I hope to volunteer….


{photo from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep’s website}

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