thomas brauer photography

I don't want to die.

Added on by thomas brauer.

So, the gospel reading is from Mark, chapter 8, where Jesus says that those who would save their life, will lose it.  Well, who wants that?  I mean really.  If I want to save my life, then I want to save it.  I want to preserve the way I do things, and I want to keep what I've got for myself and my family.  I want to make sure that others know how smart I am, or how awesome my chocolate-chip cookies are.  What I don't want is to have to give that stuff up.  I want my life and to live it too.

Jesus, on the other hand, well, he seems to be saying that the only way I can truly live, is if I'm willing to let all that stuff go.  The way of life, the patterns of thinking, the behaviours, and yes, even the cookies.  If I do that, if I let my life go for His sake, then my life will be saved.  But for what?  I mean won't I already have lost everything I understand my life to be about?  Won't I have already lost everything I've worked so hard to make for myself?  For what will my life be saved... for Christ's sake!

...oh.

I guess that is what my life will be saved for.

But then what...?

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In nature photography, the photographer may wander for hours looking for something that special something.  I have found myself doing this.  I am looking for what I think will make the best image, the right image.  I hold tight to this idea, and for as long as I do, I seem never to find that image.  

However, when I have the courage to let that idea go, to work not so much for my own grand vision, but simply to experience the beauty as it is, where it is, and to make images of THAT, then I find I can come up with some pretty remarkable stuff, and often work that is not my usual style, or choice of subject matter (like the above).  

As I see it, in photography, the image maker must lose himself, and give up his own vision.  If I cling to my vision rigidly and never let it go, then I seem never to get the shot.  But if I'm willing to let the vision go, and to immerse myself into what is already there, waiting for me, calling me beyond my own vision, then I can get the shot.  It may not be a brilliant work of art (like the above) but it may well speak to me in ways far more profound than I could have hoped.

In life, we have to have the humility to die.  To let ourselves go, and allow Christ to work with us independent of our expectations, plans and priorities.  In the end, if all we want for our lives is simply what we want for our lives, then what kind of life will we have?  Predictable, safe, stayed...useless?  What if we lived as though our own lives weren't nearly so important as the lives of those around us?  What if we lived as though the life Christ led/leads was/is the life that matters most?  

What if we die to ourselves...for Christ's sake.