Thursday, June 30, 2016

Comes Around

Photo by Jacki

Six years ago one of my dear soul friends came for a visit and like all of her visits, she came with her camera strapped over her shoulder. She loves photography and there are very few moments where I can remember seeing her without her faithful machine ready to give us glimpses of the world as she sees it.

She has an eye for angles. She sees angles I just can't find. She sees colors, streams of light, gestures of the body, tilts of a blossom, expressions of humanity that tell a story of the goodness available and intended for the world. The images she records with her camera are more than the stunning portrayal of a fleeting moment, they are bread crumbs leading hearts back sources of abiding joy. Rivers of new life in a dessert of scheduled smog, and daily mundane.

Photo by Jacki
When she returned home after that trip, I received a sad message relaying that her camera had been crushed in the baggage claim. She was able to save her photos but the machine would be no more. We were both young adults. Young professionals, trying to make it doing work we loved that fulfilled us. Unfortunately, that sort of work does not always come with a paycheck that can keep you going for very long. I knew it was would to be a while before my friend could afford another camera. 

The thought of her without a camera made my heart ache. It would be like taking my right hand so that I could no longer paint. A piece of her soul would be couped up inside her, unable to fly to the depths and heights that it longed for, unable to visit the places where it belonged. The wholeness of life that she was able to experience and share through her lens should not be stopped by this mishap at the airport. 

It seemed like the most obvious thing I could ever do- I wrote her a check. I couldn't afford a whole camera and new lenses either, but I could give her something to put towards a new camera. When my mom heard the tale, she too sent my friend a check. Later, I found out that we were two of many people who heard of the death of her camera and immediately sent her some funds to buy a new one. I know that the truth that motivated me was the same powerful force that motivated her loved ones. We all believed she could not be without a camera.

Photo by Jacki
Last month, she came to visit me for the weekend. We enjoyed a much needed time of restoration and refueling, as well as some great space to catch up and enjoy one another's company. At one point, she asked me if there was anything I needed for Waked Up Studio. I explained that starting a new business is hard and involves some serious budgeting.I don't have investors or grants to work from, so I make some sales, save my money, and bide my time. The next big ticket item that I absolutely need to keep the business up is a good camera. 

I need to continually update my website and social media. I need to appropriately document my artwork and take good enough photos to be able to make prints someday. I would love to eventually be able to make video lessons and demos for my students. All of this will take a good camera. I thought it would probably be the end of the year before I could afford to buy a nice one that could fill this need. 

She started to smile and said, "Well, this is perfect."

Photo by Jacki
It turns out that her husband gave her the gift of a new camera for Christmas this year and she was looking for a home for the camera that she bought using the funds given to her that spring her camera was crushed in the airport. The very camera that I and many other people contributed towards bringing back into her life. 

I never occurred to me that this was a gesture that would come back to me. I didn't even think about the "return" on such a gift. It was not even a gift to me- it was necessary. It was obvious that she HAD to have a camera and if I could help to make that happen then that is what I must do. A dozen people gave generously, and the gifts of that camera have been given back to us over and over again as we devour her photos and enjoy her homemade cards. 

Photo by Jacki
I haven't thought about that camera in years. Today it is sitting in my living room, a gift from a friend who sees beauty in the complicated smog of a business day and believes in the transformational magic of generosity.

Photo by Jacki
I am an awed witness to the Spirit's movements and I am filled with gratitude towards this incredible woman whose heart pours out messages of love and hope that arrive at my doorstep sometimes dressed up as a package from the postal service. 

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