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The Eclectic Pen - A Personal Journey Towards Integration

By: Lisa C. (IrishHillbilly)   + 8 more  
Date Submitted: 4/27/2007
Last Updated: 4/30/2007
Genre: Teen & Young Adult » Religion & Spirituality
Words: 1,215

  I was walking along the rocky pathway of life carrying my little point and shoot camera. It wasn’t worth much, but it was precious to me, as it was my one prized possession. Occasionally I’d pause to snap a picture of something that caught my eye. These snapshots were unremarkable, – grab shots for posterity – just to say “This is where I’ve been.”
One day as I was walking along a very rocky pathway, a violent storm came suddenly upon me. I went crashing to the ground, bruising myself and shattering my precious little camera. As I picked myself up and began brushing myself off, I saw with dismay that my little camera was completely smashed. Now I had nothing to use to frame my world or show others where I’d been.
As I stood there in tears, desperately clutching the mangled remains of my little camera, a kind looking gentleman walked up to me.
“Why are you crying?” he asked.
I stood there silently, shaken, scared, and a little angry. I didn’t want to answer him. I wanted to be left alone to mourn my loss and lick my wounds in private.
“I’m sure I can help you if you’ll only tell me what’s wrong. I am the great teacher.” He said.
Why didn’t you show up and offer to help me find a smoother pathway and avoid the storm? This thought ran through my mind as I pondered the great teacher’s arrival.
“I got caught in a terrible storm, “ I said. “My camera, my most prized possession, got broken during the storm and I don’t know how to put it back together.” I said. I held the jagged pieces of plastic, metal, and glass out for his inspection.
“Can you put my little camera back together again?” I asked sarcastically.
“Actually, I can. But I want to give you a better camera.” He said. The great teacher reached into the case he was carrying and pulled out a shiny new Canon SLR camera.
He held it out to me, along with a camera case bursting at the seams with lenses, filters, flashes, and all the accessories a photographer could ever want.
I looked at the new camera, wishing, hoping I could really have it. Then I realized in order to take this new camera, I would have to lay down my own beloved, broken camera that had served me so well in the past. I was afraid to let it go. It was the only camera I’d ever had. As I pondered my dilemma the jagged edges of my poor broken camera began digging into my hands, and a shard of broken glass from the lens cut into my palm, drawing blood. I knew I couldn’t keep my camera – it would no longer work, and it was now hurting me.
With much regret I allowed the broken pieces of my camera to slip slowly through my bruised and bloodied hands, watching as they fell uselessly to the ground. I reached out and took the new SLR camera from the great teacher, noticing many numbers, control knobs, and buttons on it.
“This camera will be of much more value to you...” He said, “…but it is not as simple as your old one. You must learn many things to use this camera. If you will spend some time with me, I will teach you how to get beautiful photographs from this camera.”
“I’m sorry great teacher…” I said. “I don’t trust you enough to let you help me. I will only take this camera because I can’t imagine living without a camera, but I’ll figure out how to use it on my own.”
This story tells how my faith and perspective of life and God were broken by the storms in my life. I never once doubted God’s existence, but I questioned my perceptions of Him, and why, if He loved me so much, He didn’t answer my prayers the way I thought they should be answered.
I lived the early years of my life purely in emotional survival mode. My focus was so narrow I could only see the spiritual side of things. My beliefs were extremely fundamental. It was either black or white, with very little gray area in between. When my “camera was broken in the storm”, I realized my faith and beliefs would no longer work for me. No matter how many prayer meetings I attended, how many hands were laid on me and prayers said over me, the simplistic principles I’d once held and judged everything by were no longer enough.
I could not go back to my former faith and trust in God, no matter how hard I tried. I felt very guilty that I could no longer trust God as I had before, but I simply couldn’t get over it.
I accepted the new, complicated camera from God, but was so hurt, frustrated, and angry that it took me many years to begin to learn to use this new camera.
One of my first mistakes was looking at all things spiritual through a filter called “anger and resentment”. This caused the picture to be diffused and lacking in clarity. When I finally allowed the great teacher to remove this filter, I saw the words “self-interest” written on it.
This occurred during Spiritual Formation class when the Holy Spirit spoke to me, telling me that the tragedy in my family “was never about me.”
I had to learn many things about my new camera. I had to learn how much light I should let flow into the aperture, and which angle the light should shine from (truth revealed through Scripture or truth revealed in psychology). I’ve learned how long I should allow the shutter to stay open for each situation. I found that the built in light meter (the Holy Spirit) works very well in guiding me in these matters.
I am learning many things about composing my photographs. I am learning to achieve a proper balance between the spiritual and psychological. Another thing I’ve found extremely important is learning how to focus. If the focus is not properly set, the whole picture will be blurry.
I’ve also found this camera works best when set on a tripod (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit). This decreases camera shake and provides a stable platform for viewing and composing my photographs.
Sometimes I have to get into uncomfortable positions to get the angle of view that looks best. Many times I have to lower myself to the ground and look up to get the right perspective.
I’m still fine tuning the adjustments on my new camera, and learning many new things from the great teacher. My photographs are getting better every day.
They are no longer the unremarkable grab shots of a point and shoot, but thoughtful, studied out compositions of beautiful things along my pathway, which is now much smoother to travel. I know I will be able to exhibit my photographs as works of beauty to uplift others along the way.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Lisa C. (IrishHillbilly)

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Comments 1 to 7 of 7
JOYCE W. (luvthemgoats) - 4/27/2007 10:54 PM ET
Very nice, it makes me think
Resah C. (resahsattic) - 4/30/2007 5:09 PM ET
wow lisa! i loved this one! great analogy, especially the tripod! wonderful! resah
Margaret S. (morgan2010) - 4/30/2007 8:37 PM ET
Thank you for your story.
Terri M. (Flipper) - 5/1/2007 2:27 PM ET
Thank you for this story. I especially liked the part where you have to get into uncomfortable positions to get the best picture. God sure has put me in some positions where only in that position could I see his almighty hand holding me. I found this story a great illustration of how we hold our cameras (life) so dear to us, and it is only the great teacher (Creator God) who can show us how to use it properly, after all He is the creator of our lives.
Sara D. (twinkletoes) - 5/1/2007 9:32 PM ET
Krysten M. - 5/8/2007 8:13 AM ET
I think that the perspective is unique and interesting. Good use of imagery. I'm a little disturbed by the idea of balancing spiritual and psychological. If the Holy Spirit is such a good "light meter"... why bother with the other? If the tripod is the trinity, why add a fourth (and unnecessary) leg? I think that you'll find that as you rely on the very sturdy tripod you described, that there is much more truth in the Bible than there is in psychology. "Such things (like psychology) have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." Col.2:23 Overall, though, I must say that this is very good writing for a teenager... it shows developed thoughts that are beyond your actual years. I'm now so interested that I have to go see what else you've written! :)
Lisa C. (IrishHillbilly) - 5/8/2007 10:17 PM ET
In reply to the last comment...I'm not a teen. I'm a 42 year old Graduate Counseling student at a Christian University...this story is an excerpt from an assignment I turned in for my "Integration of Christian Faith and Psychology" class...which teaches professional Christian Counselors how to integrate their faith into their practice. Thanks for the comments
Comments 1 to 7 of 7