My Walls Feel Naked

I just took down two pictures from the walls of my apartment and now it looks a bit bare in here. Tomorrow is the day when I take my photos down to the NY State Fairgrounds for their competition to be judged next week. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback lately with regard to my photography. My dad, always encouraging, has been praising my shots as I’ve been putting together our 4th volume of images for digital presentations this week. My best friend from college is going to make posters out of some of them to decorate her new place. And one of the youth I advise picked out one of my prints to adorn his dorm room when he heads off to college in a couple of weeks. So, without giving myself a big head, I have been pretty confident lately in my skills as a photographer and I have a good feeling about the competition. As I’ve said, my bar is set high to just being selected as a “work of merit” to be shown for the run of the Fair.

Looking at the bare walls reminded me of something I wrote while at my friend Laura‘s apartment in Boston when I was there for my former chaplain‘s ordination:

From January 31, 2004:
An empty frame hangs lonely on the wall. Perfectly placed and level and true, it waits for something to fill it. But What? In our lives we hang many pictures, material objects to make our surroundings more ‘beautiful.’ A landscape here or a still-life there, maybe even a portrait or two. For me, I’ve hung in my house a little bit of everything: memories of places I’ve been, signs of accomplishment and success, art to catch my eye, and some words I want to remember. Though, for me, perhaps the most appropriate would be an empty frame. Perhaps the emptiness of the frame speaks of the vacancy of our lives that materials and -isms try to fill. It hangs as a reminder of our own emptiness and to offer hope for the potential of fullness. Like me, it waits for someone to come along and fill it. But when will that be?

I have a little black book that I use to write my thoughts in. It’s separate from my journal – which has felt neglected lately – I jot down short verses now and then or even a pair of words that sound interesting. The book sits in the bottom of the extra compartment of my camera bag, often covered up by whatever papers, accessories, or other assorted objects that make their way in there.

I read through some of my more “recent” notations (from last summer) and thought I would just put them up here. Not for any particular reason, just because.

From June 6, 2005:
In the silence of the evening
As the bright sun dims
In the reddened sky to the west
And the cool hint of wind
Signals the last breath of day
I sit in awe
That this moment –
In the midst of fear & confusion,
In the midst of solitude & loneliness,
In the midst of possibility & hope –
That this moment
Was offered not
For the ones who wanted romance,
Nor for those who came to play.
It is mine.
As I question and complain
And the din of my thoughts
Echo across my being
The gentle whisper of peace
Leads me on to a place
That I never thought could be.
I am not home.
Nor do I know the way.
But I am compelled to step on
Following the unseen.
Listening to the unheard.
Embracing the mystery.

And from June 24, 2005:

The Still & Quiet Times
Where are you when I need you?
Those moments when I get
Caught up in the outside,
The external craziness of my world,
Where are you?
I feel lost without you.
Stuck in the round,
Stuck in the wide-open expanses,
Trapped in the middle
Of I don’t know
And What if?
But something
happened today.
I felt it in my bones;
No… Deeper.
Somewhere way, way down
In a place I hadn’t seen –
At least, not for a long time –
There you were,
Waiting for me.
And I smiled.
It is in the still and quiet times,
In the meaning of moments,
In the middle of it all,
At the heart of everything
Where I see who I should be,
Where I see you,
Where I find peace.

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