The softer colors

I notice that I have been drawn lately to photograph images with strong colors. They can be very eye-catching, particularly images that capture the warm tones of sunrise or sunset, or the deep blue tones of the sky in the hour after sunset. These images demand our attention.

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I have to remind myself not to overlook the softer colors, which add nuance to an image, and which convey beauty in a different way. Images with low saturation and subdued colors invite us to linger and savor, to see the quiet beauty present in the world around us. They are not flashy. They do not demand our attention, but they invite us to notice and appreciate them.

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It’s a lesson that carries over into our spiritual life. Sometimes we can look for God in the fireworks of life– in moments of exhilaration or defeat, in larger-than-life figures that we look up to for inspiration. But God is also present in the mundane events of our life, in the less eye-catching experiences we have, our day-to-day routine. God is present in the small interactions and tender moments we have with others, in the time we spend quietly in nature, and as we go through our day.

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My sense is that most people experience God most of all in the routine and not the spectacular events of life, simply because daily life does not often qualify as spectacular. God will show up wherever and whenever we pay attention.

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“The Lord said, ‘Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by.’ A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord–but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake–but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire–but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance to the cave.” (I Kings 19:11-13)

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