As we begin preparations to reopen our schools after summer vacation, we face many uncertainties. At our school we will follow a hybrid model, in which half the student body is on campus and half is following classes at home via Zoom. The two cohorts switch each week. We don’t know how long we will be able to have students on campus before a shutdown becomes necessary. Uncertainty seems to be a constant in our life these days.
One lesson to be learned in uncertain times is that permanence in this life is an illusion. Much of the anxiety we face is caused by trying to hold on to life as we know it or want it to be. When we let go of this illusion that we can escape change, we can experience true freedom, which comes from placing our life in God’s hands. “Let go, and let God,” as the saying goes. Easier said than done, but that’s the challenge of attuning our life to the presence of the life-giving Spirit.
The scriptural image that comes to mind is the call of Peter, James, and John. They are invited to place their trust in Jesus in order to come up with a large catch of fish. They let go of the way they have always done things and trusted, perhaps skeptically at first, that Jesus would lead them in the right direction. Then they leave what they have always done, and followed him in search of a greater catch.
In my photography I head out with my camera most of the time without any real plan other than an area to walk in and a lens to use. I have found that most of my best images have resulted from being open to what presents itself to me and not from something I specifically set out to photograph. Uncertainty, if received in the right frame of mind, can lead us to freedom, creativity, and fruitfulness, not simply in the arts, but also in the larger areas of life.
“Simon (Peter) answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets. When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.” (Luke 5:5-6)