Published on June 5, 2013
My Vocation : My Vocation I’ve looked at this picture at various stages of my life and have always come to a deeper understanding of its meaning. I originally took this photo late in college when I shifted majors from biology to theology. I remember how I struggled to live out my vocation of being called to the church ministry. As I grappled with my future, I was invited into this moment of pause. My baby photograph wedged into the mirror of my parents’ bedroom filled me with peace that day, as I recognized that my relationship with Christ is a lifelong experience. Now, when I find myself at a crossroads, this is the photograph I turn to. For me, this photograph is hope. And a reminder that there is more to the story to come, as the Paschal Mystery continues to unfold again and again. Injustice: Borders Within Our Hearts: Injustice: Borders Within Our Hearts I remember my first encounter with injustice during an immersion trip to Tijuana, Mexico, during my senior year in college. For the 10 days I was there, I saw everything that scared me about this world—from prisons and orphanages to convalescent homes and the Mexican/American border. On the trip, I was able to name that deeply-rooted fear: the stripping of human dignity. This photograph is of the Mexican/American border that extends into the Pacific Ocean. It was there I met a man in the middle of the night, as he was just arriving at the shoreline after swimming for miles underwater so he could deliver money to his family. After hearing his story, the world became bigger than the one I knew. I got know myself in a deeper way that day, and I began wrestling with the reality that the decisions I make in this world affect more people than just me. I keep this picture hanging in my home, as a reminder that borders can create numbness toward the stripping of human dignity, and as an awareness of human compassion. Our Flirtatious God: Our Flirtatious God The grandeur of God’s intimacy can be discovered in nature. If one looks around and pays attention, one realizes how madly in love with us God is. The attention to detail, the uniqueness of every aspect of creation—it all leads one to enter into a love affair with God. And throughout any day, we are invited into this love affair over and over again: with birds chirping and dancing in the wind; with flowers blooming; with rays of light breaking through shadowy moments. Our God sends us little reminders every day of His love through nature’s beauty. God is really a wonderful flirt, luring us into a deeper relationship with Him. The Extraordinary Reflection of Ordinariness : The Extraordinary Reflection of Ordinariness I fall in love with God over and over again through my children. Vincenzo and Elizabetta invite me to unwrap the simplest of God’s gifts. In this picture, ordinary pavement, filled with tire marks and cracks, became a playground of wonder for my kids on this unusually moist day in Los Angeles. The two of them frolicked in puddles, chased each other, pausing, and then raising their hands in glee. I couldn’t help but notice life’s fullness on an otherwise ordinary day. And I have since understood that this is the invitation God extends to us constantly, that within the ordinary is something extraordinary—and it’s ours to know. I keep this image on my desktop at work to remind myself that there is always another way to look at what’s being presented. Our Human Story : Our Human Story What I have found really neat is exploring the photographs my children have taken. Their photos show me their perspective on life. The first photo is of me driving my children through LA traffic from the view of my six-year-old son Vincenzo’s car seat. I’m struck by the way he captured my eyes in the rear view mirror, the emotion of waiting, and the experience of being a mom to a child, modeling how to drive through the traffic of life. The second is a self-portrait of my two-year-old daughter Elizabetta . I am intrigued by the framing, the color, the lighting, and the overall invitation to know what she’s thinking in that moment. All images invite us into a story, but to recognize your own sacred story and its connection to others through photography has been a wonderful experience of grace in my life. I am blessed to be invited into my children’s experience through their photographs.