|Van Gogh...a constant struggle|
Far off beaten path...
a corner turned...
crystalline curtains of light conspire...
painting unimagined undulating variegated drama...
magentas rich deep with blues and golds!
These sandstone structures quietly rehearse stories of cavernous value. Life’s erosion can cut with wounds, core deep...carving tolls with flash floods of circumstance...leaving living lines deep etched. The flood, once receded, kindles potential reflected higher light, replacing dark, flat, subterranean pain to beauty previously unimagined that draws others afar toward it’s heart.
|The sensuous lines of Antelope Slot Canyon|
|The Haunting eyes|
I was watching an interview on broadcast television where a friend of a friend was being interviewed about his twenty-five years of work among the homeless...those living on the fringes, marginalized just beyond the drawbridges of considered polite society. One statement caught my attention...although he derives pleasure from experiencing the wonders of creation when viewing mountains or sea, he, more than anything sees God’s face and beauty etched deeply into the faces of those less fortunate. He spoke to the realization that it is often the one serving them who in the end receives much more in return than anything given.
While living in Latin America for several years, I observed that although the poor lacked most accoutrements of comfort they always presented themselves publicly with care and dignity. They walked tall in their pain. Emerging daily from hovels dressed in their finest, faces and bodies well groomed, they appeared to their world as beautiful dignified humanity. Their laughter and smiles often were a rich contrast to the dreariness of an onerous wearisome existence.
Greeted with ever present warmth of Latin hospitality we were invited into the humble dwelling of the one who served us each day. Here we found a room no more than twelve feet square. Above the uneven rutted dirt floor gaped six to twelve inches of open space before the vertical slats began. When rains came, water streamed across the hovel leaving their meager contents constantly drenched and soiled. There was no electricity, refrigeration or windows. Privacy was not to be found. Danger constantly lurked. A small dank mattress lay on the dirt where our friend and her two young children attempted sleep. A tiny charcoal fire burned in the corner filling the hut with a thick blue haze.
Our friend offered us black beans and rice and out of her poverty served us with hospitable pride and self sacrifice. We left a couple of hours later, humbled with the profound realization that no matter our financial state and the size of our apartment, we were blessed beyond measure and that we needed to express to her in some tangible way some more permanent assistance. How often I forget to reflect back as I occasionally dwell on my own trifling feelings of passing physical discomfort while lounging in absolute luxury! God have mercy!
|Just a candy...please!|
So as I briefly reflect today of having been privileged seeing faces of some much less fortunate, or as I reflect on a portrait in some national gallery, I’m challenged to move toward a place of greater gratitude and purposeful contentment...not denying the contours cut into my own life story, but to live a bit more gratefully out of the heart of those experiences, remembering to reflect light and some joy even through life’s difficulties.
The least I can do is to extend some temporary care to those I pass who live on the street, giving a small expression of kindness by adding a dollop of caloric colour and taste to the beleaguered palette of their daily life.
Thanks for journeying with me today...Doug
"He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."
Photography and blog copyright:
J. Douglas Thompson