Carry on! Carry on!
Fight the good fight and true;
Believe in your mission, greet life with a cheer;
There’s big work to do, and that’s why you are here.
Carry on! Carry on!
Let the world be the better for you;
And at last when you die, let this be your cry!
Carry on, my soul! Carry on!
~ Robert W. Service
What do you see in three yellow roses? I asked myself as I photographed my younger sister holding these flowers. We picked the flowers together from our Mother’s rose garden and then sought a suitable place and background to take a photograph. I was delighted with the way the photograph turned out. And in that moment and often in times gone by, there is another feeling I have felt when I capture of glimpse of nature. I am simply in awe of beauty. When I see these roses I see something more than the array of colours, the variety of shapes and sizes or the sweet smelling fragrance. I see beauty. And that beauty gives life to my soul. These roses do not have some mysterious power in their possession. What they do have is a reflection, a reflection of the one who created them.
The great theologian Jonathan Edwards once said, “For as God is infinitely the greatest Being, so he is allowed to be infinitely the most beautiful and excellent; and all the beauty to be found throughout the whole creation, is but the reflection of the diffused beams of that Being who hath an infinite fullness of brightness and glory.” Wherever we see creation we see the beauty of God. This is why I love photography. A photograph is a moment of God’s beauty captured. The beauty that we behold points to Him. In the prayer of St Augustine, ‘’The Beauty of Creation Bears Witness to God’, eloquently describes beauty and its relation to God:
Question the beauty of the earth,
the beauty of the sea,
the beauty of the wide air around you,
the beauty of the sky;
question the order of the stars,
the sun whose brightness lights the days,
the moon whose splendour softens the gloom of night;
question the living creatures that move in the waters,
that roam upon the earth,
that fly through the air;
the spirit that lies hidden,
the matter that is manifest;
the visible things that are ruled,
the invisible things that rule them;
question all these.
They will answer you: “Behold and see, we are beautiful.”
Their beauty is their confession to God.
Who made these beautiful changing things,
if not one who is beautiful and changeth not?
These three yellow roses say (to paraphrase St Augustine), “Behold and see, we are beautiful. Our beauty is our confession to God, our Creator”. All of creation displays a reflection of God’s beauty. If what we see on earth is only a reflection of His beauty. His beauty is beyond comprehension! What do you see in three yellow roses? I see beauty and a reflection of the Creator.
By Nina Joan
Photography captures a moment of beauty seen through the eyes of the photographer. This moment is captured for others to see the indescribable beauty.
Life is beautiful. Sometimes you have to search to see the beauty. That is the enjoyable part…looking for something that is worth capturing.
Recently I found an old diary of mine. As I read through the pages full of memories of old times I found a page which stopped me. On the page were the words…
‘When I grow up I want to be…’
That was it. What is the rest of this statement I thought? Where were the dreams that I had so long ago? And why did I not write them down?
When I wrote that statement I was about 17 years old. Now, quite a few years later I have finished my degree there is a world of possibilities for me to dream about. Am I courageous enough to live my life without fear? And not have fear of losing my dreams, fear of missing out, fear of never being good enough or fear what people think? All of these thought run through my head. My dreams as a child were idealistic and wishful, now as an adult realistically, is it possible to dream? Dream with the innocence of a child and persevere until they are achieved.
I never could have imagined those words that I wrote would teach me something about myself years later. It is important to dream but if we have wishful dreams we may miss the small things in the present. Never let your dreams disappear. Hold onto them and write them in your heart so that you never lose them.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
A few months ago I captured this photograph of a surfer falling off his board. During the editing process of this photo I realised there was a lesson to be learned in this photograph. This is what the photograph taught me.
A surfer waits patiently for the perfect wave to come along, they spend numerous hours in the water waiting for their moment to catch the perfect wave. So great is their anticipation that time is irrelevant. Once the surfer catches their wave the enjoyment and passion is seen on their faces during the exhilarating run. Surfers spend time practicing their technique learning how to ride the waves. During these times of learning there will always be times when the surfer crashes into the ocean and ‘wipes out’. It is inevitable fact. It is also the same in life. Life was never meant to be an easy swim in the ocean, where would the point that be? Life if full of challenges and opportunities to let us grow and learn. These times in our lives catapult us into learning new things and becoming wiser, better people.
There are always moments in our lives where we ‘wipe out’. These times are unquestionably painful not only to us but to others around us. Sometimes no matter how hard we try to avoid a ‘wipe out’ we automatically end up ‘wiping out’. Why is this so? It is one of the great questions of the universe. I’m sure God knows the reasons for our many failings and reasons which we as humans would like to know. But God in His infallible wisdom guides and leads every moment in our lives. Yes, we do fail and ‘wipe out’ (that is the problem with being mortals) yet, we have grace and the opportunity to try again. When we ‘wipe out’ on a wave we can get back on the surfboard and catch the next wave.
We have all seen waves gracefully glide past from the shore line on the beach, few have ridden waves and seen their splendor up close. They are a marvellous, natural beauty. However, waves, do not last for long, they inevitably and majestically crash into the shore. Our lives won’t always have a perfect run for years. Life is a journey of good times and times where we ‘wipe out’. What we need to understand is that God has a purpose for every moment in our lives, it is our purpose to do our best with the life He has given us.
It is so easy to let our lives consume us body, spirit and soul. The pressures, disappointments and the bad times in life can so easily destroy us. But there is only one thing that will always see us through these times. Hope. Hope is something that we cannot be given and something that can never be taken away. No matter how dark, pointless or lonely life may seem, there is a purpose for which God put all of us on this planet. God gave us all the ability to hope for a better day, hope for the good times and most importantly the hope of eternal life with Him. Regardless of who we are, what we have come from or the bad things we have been through, we all have the ability to hope. If we choose to hope, it will change our lives forever.
‘We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.’
— Martin Luther King Jr.