Lent is a time of paring down. After the exuberance of Mardi Gras comes the sobriety of Ash Wednesday and the 40 day period of self-examination and reform. Removing the clutter from my life helps me to focus on what’s truly important.
Living simply has become a movement that many follow, because it simplifies life and allows us to de-clutter not only our closet, but also our mind and heart. Fasting not only from food, but also from the attentions that distract us from living in the present moment is a health-giving activity and a spiritually sound practice.
When I’m out photographing and having difficulty finding good compositions, I will narrow my field of vision, cutting out anything that is extraneous to the image I am composing. Simplifying the composition by zooming in or moving closer helps me to focus on what is essential to the image I’m making.
When I give up distracting things and focus more on prayer and reflection, in a sense zooming in on my relationship with God and with the world, the composition of my life becomes clearer. The challenge is to keep that mind-set and practice even after Lent is finished. The celebration of Easter and the Easter season helps us to keep that vision alive and moving forward.
“Of you my heart has spoken: Seek his face. It is your face, O Lord, that I seek; hide not your face from me.” (Psalm 27:8-9)