Looking Beyond the Obvious to the Beauty Hidden Within
When I first saw this image in my photo editor, my initial impulse was to delete it. But then, as my finger hovered above the delete key, I paused to wonder why I had even taken it.
I was drawn to the image. But why? There didn’t seem to be a subject in the picture. When I took the picture, I was with my mother, it was Monday, we were on our way to see her nutritionist, it was a nice day, we were traveling north up Interstate 5. But why this picture?
It was the only photograph I took all day. And I-5 going north isn’t a pretty drive, in fact, it’s rather ugly. Especially this time of year. The brightly colored leaves have fallen to expose skeleton trees, the brown moldy leaves cover the ground en masse and the rusting decay of the city air seems almost palatable. It didn’t make sense, I wasn’t making sense. But instead of deleting the photo, I left it.
Then this morning, I happened across the image again. And, again, I was drawn to look further into the picture. But why? Was I drawn by the strong line of the bridge railing? Was I subconsciously seeing a strange self-portrait with the image of my hand, the camera and part of my face reflected in the side door mirror? Was it the black of the mirror, the grey shadow of the pavement and the dirty cream railing in contrast to the brilliant blue sky?
Then came my light bulb moment. Look deep into the background at the horizon. Mt. Rainier. That’s why I had taken the photograph.
To explain my slow brain and weak insight, I have to tell you that my level of stress and frustration has been pretty high these last few days. You see, my darning foot broke, and I need my darning foot for free motion quilting the Advent quilt. I brought the darning foot to the repair shop where I had bought it. The guy fixed it. It was still broken. I took it back, I wanted a new one. Instead, he fixed it. Again. And it was still broken. So I took it back and said, “Please, give me a new foot, a different foot. I don’t care if I have to pay for it, I just need it to work!” They gave me a new foot. And this foot has bar under the spring that sticks out so far that as my needle travels up and down it rubs and pushes and causes my needle to go out of alignment and then break and then causes me to pull out my hair and flail my arms and grit my teeth and stomp my foot and scream like an evil leprechaun who has just been tricked out of his pot of gold. Yeah, seriously. All that. And more too, if you want to know the truth of it.
So, this morning, when I took another good look at this picture and realized Mt. Rainier is in the background, I felt myself stop and take a deep breath. I felt my shoulders relax, my eyes soften and the corners of my mouth curl up ever so slightly. Wow. Mt. Rainier is so beautiful. And in the beauty of Our Serene Majesty that is the Mountain Rainier, I was reminded that even in all the ugliness and frustration of the world, there is God.
God is in the beauty of Mt. Rainier. God is in the ugliness of naked trees and rotting leaves. He is in the noise of the freeway, the grayed shadows of menacing semi-trucks and the impatience of hassled, harried work-a-day commuters. God is in the pure joy Mom and I find in an Apple, Walnut & Chicken Salad at Red Robin Restaurant. And, most of all, God is in the frustration of a 47 year-old free motion quilter with a broken darning foot, a 30 year-old Pfaff Tipmatic 1027 and a 25 mile drive into town for the third day in a row.
Thanks be to God.
“A rock pile ceases being a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” -Unknown Author
UPDATE: I have returned from the sewing machine repair shop – and the bookstore, the bakery, and Sister’s Fabrics – and have thoroughly tested my new darning foot and am, hopefully, ready to quilt!
Oh, and I also have four Turkey Cupcakes, had three but now have two Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Mini Cheesecakes, bought a Thank You card, a yard of American Primer by Minich & Simpson for Moda and enjoyed a Dancing Goat Vanilla Latte.
Ahhhhh, life is good again!