Playdates: Please Do Not Climb on the Statuary

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The day before Mother’s Day dawns and my friend Susie and I have been waiting. We are taking a digital photography class together—a gift from our families. The house pulls against me like a magnet and I clean the kitchen and run a load of laundry and try to smooth out the world before landing in her passenger seat. She’s had a long night—with a sick child and worries about a sick mom—and we sit beside each other and breathe.
We drive away from the little valley we call home.
The class is fine, but we both feel frustrated—can’t this teacher go through all these little buttons and dials and show us? Why does he keep saying that we need to get to know our camera? The first part is in the classroom and he talks about exposure and aperture and shutter speed and using manual mode.
But the getting to know part—that comes next. We leave the classroom and spill out on to the streets of Charleston.
Susie and I walk down Washington—in manual mode. Sometimes, I’m overexposed—others…too dark. I converse with this camera, roll the dial, click the buttons, ask the teacher questions. 
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It’s quite enchanting.
We walk down the block to the Catholic church. There is a prayer garden there. We snap photos of the sculptures—only, I can’t get close enough. So…I climb up on the ledge. 
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That’s when SHE enters the garden. She gives me a LOOK. She asks me what I’m doing—in the most polite of ways. I tell her and she says, We don’t normally climb on the statuary.
This is a sacred space, she says. And she says a few more things, but I am mortified so I don’t hear. I murmur words of apology as I climb down from the statuary.
I am feeling a little miffed, I must admit. I mean, here we are, out in public for heaven’s sake. It wasn’t like I was harming the thing. I mutter about these things in my mind, thinking, after all, I believe that God lives in me. So…anyplace I am is sacred. Everyplace is sacred.
And I stop.
It has taken the words of this gentle woman for me to remember. I am here. God is here. I am standing on sacred ground. These thoughts quiet me, and I am filled with gratitude. I take more photos, but they are more than photos now.
Now, they are worship. 
How about you? How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. And come tell us about it.

Why don’t you join us for our new book club discussion over at The High Calling? It’s the first week in our discussion of Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions. See you there!

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  1. says

    This post is beautiful. Your photographs are beautiful.

    We’re tracking a bit, I think….I have a post scheduled for Friday that’s about the holiness of places.

  2. says

    How beautifully written and such amazing pictures. Thank you for the reminder that we are always in the presence of the true God, on sacred ground. 🙂
    I am a new follower and glad to have found you!

  3. says

    I love the photos you captured. I especailly love the one of the Lord carrying the cross.
    Thank yiou for the beatuiful reminder that everywhere I go is scared cause He dwells in me.

  4. says

    Wow, Laura, such beautiful statuary. So well sculpted, with such meaningful expressions on the faces. And even the leaves are sculpted! Thank you so much for sharing those fabulous pictures.

    It was easy for me to be drawn into worship just looking at the pics, and reading your thoughtful words. Yes, indeed, all places are sacred ground.

    You’re beautiful, Laura!

    My blog post is up. Maybe even “serious” thoughts can be a playdate with God, as we talk to him in prayer, as we think tenderly of those we know (and those we don’t know) who are hurting and afraid.

    Since I’ve had so much trouble getting mine to link properly to yours, I won’t try to enter the prompt for links, but will just post it here.

  5. says

    Glad you got the photos; they are beautiful:)
    Your line that you were mortified so you didn’t hear resonated strongly with me. . . but I’m thankful God gave you the photos and the perspective of truth. A better Voice to hear.

  6. says

    Oh I know how you felt Laura, but I am glad that you didn’t close yourself off to the truth He was speaking to your heart. You always teach me something.

    Psst….I really like the pictures you got when you were climbing on the statuary…

  7. says

    I was not going to post my story this week. A friend assured me that I should share the honesty, even if it did lead to a little hate mail. 🙂

    Your loving and encouraging words mean so much to me. Thank you.

    I also am not “linking” this specific story anywhere (again, a little out of fear of drawing attention to my dark and ugly truth) but after reading your post and confession, and how photography and mistakes led you right to Truth, I am linking here for sure.

    Thank you for this platform and the love you encourage in sharing stories of God’s incredible Grace in our lives.

    Have a Blessed week, friend.
    In Him.

  8. says

    I, too, find your brush with legalism (sacred ground) a little humorous. My rational self says “they are right,after all, it is their property and most people’s property is ‘sacred’ to them. But don’t they miss the point? People are sacred to God, not things. Things are sacred to people. Can a place or thing or even a person be holy? In my world, there is only One Being (three in One) who merits the title HOLY. (hope I’m making sense- it rings true in my head anyway, lol)
    Isn’t it sweet how great life looks when everything we do becomes an act of worship? Nice words, nice images, Laura.
    Many blessings to you.

  9. says

    Photography as worship–oh yes!!! I’m right there with you Laura! And your moment of noticing that anyplace you are is sacred space because He is in you–dazzling!! I’m going to keep this on the tip of my tongue–this is sacred space–worship!

  10. says

    I think some times it is necessary to get blown away by the sacred. the hallowed. and I love that your families gave you this gift…I’m *sort of* jealous, not really, mostly happy and wish we could snap together and share heart as a flit for a little break in this beautiful missing in going;)

  11. says

    Your pictures are beautiful! You learned a lot in that class and so much more in the garden. Interesting that in “the garden” you found the sacred. The sacred within you is everywhere–I love that.

    Thank you for that revelation.


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