I’m a photographer, but I didn’t take pictures of the supermoon this past week. I did look out my window at it, a couple of times, but then retreated to my nice warm bed…. I thought about previous experiences of photographing the moon, and my mixed success…and just decided to be present to the event rather than trying to focus on capturing the moment for posterity.
That led me to think about other times recently when I’ve backed away from the need to photograph everything. As someone who uses her own photographs for blog posts and uploads daily images to Instagram, this is an important point. My photographs are part of my ministry and my prayer life—but they can also, ironically, get in the way of it.
How’s that, you ask? Well, I can become so focused on getting the photograph that I cease to pay attention to being in the moment. There are times when photography helps me pay attention to my surroundings, thus enhancing my spiritual practice, but there are also times when it becomes the agenda instead of supporting a deeper spiritual agenda. Those are the times when I am learning I need to back away and “just be” rather than letting photography shift from being a way to pay attention to becoming another item on my “to do” list.
All that led me to think of the well-known poem in Ecclesiastes, about how there is a season for everything. I found myself thinking about rephrasing it for this season…and here’s what came forth:
For everything there is a moment,
And a time for each right action under heaven:
A time to leap up and a time to lie down,
A time to serve and a time to receive,
A time to sign up and a time to resign,
A time to support and a time to set free,
A time to protest and a time to embrace,
A time to rage and a time to release,
A time to build homes and a time to flatten walls,
A time to encourage and a time for tough love,
A time to search and a time to wander,
A time to buy and a time to give away,
A time to gather friends and a time to walk alone,
A time to call Congress and a time to call upon God,
A time to embrace oneness and a time to challenge hate,
A time to fight wrong and a time to make right.
© Shirin McArthur
What time is it for you?