Surprised by joy

Often when I head out with my camera, I don’t have something specific in mind to photograph. I will walk and see what presents itself. Frequently I photograph something I hadn’t originally intended or didn’t even know would be present to me. Sometimes my best photo of the day is something other than what I originally set out to photograph.


St. Ignatius talks about consolation without prior cause, that is, a joy that simply comes over us without an apparent cause, as when we’re just walking along and feel a sense of joy and well-being, of being connected with creation, happy just to be alive and moving and a part of it all. Such consolation comes from the working of God’s Spirit in us, inviting us to a share of God’s delight in creation.


“Be surprised by joy, be surprised by the little flower that shows its beauty in the midst of a barren desert, and be surprised by the immense healing power that keeps bursting forth like springs of fresh water from the depth of our pain.” (Henri Nouwen)


On a recent unusually warm day for February I went for a walk along the sea shore, not expecting to see more than other walkers taking advantage of the balmy day. To my surprise, there were a number of kite surfers out on the water, and I got some wonderful images of them hurtling over the waves powered by the wind and their kites.


On another occasion, on a much colder day, I walked along the Charles River, expecting to see an icy river devoid of any activity. I was pleasantly surprised to see many ducks paddling along the river bank, and again I came away with some nice images.


Occasionally one of my cactus plants sends up a flower, which is always a nice thing to see, when nature outside is not yet in flower mode.


Here are some other sights I happened upon in an unplanned manner.


In this season of Lent, as we contemplate the end of Jesus’ earthly journey, be prepared to be surprised by joy.


“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (I Cor 2:9)







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