One of the practices I’ll be leading during my Contemplative Photography class is called Visio Divina. It is similar to lectio divina where a group of people (or an individual, but often is much deeper in a group) reads a passage multiple times and in different voices to listen to how the Spirit is speaking through each person. Visio divina is a similar practice but using an image. As I led it with a group of people earlier this week, I walked people through “setting the scene” of when this picture was taken – trying to get people to experience what I did when I shot this picture. And then went through several cycles, each seeking to go deeper. The first cycle was to simply note a word that came to their heart and mind as they took in the scene and the image. Words were spoken such as “embraced, caught, held.” A period of silence was given to further reflect and take in the image and then to share what further was stirring. In this period, similar words were shared along with several new ones. Finally, after another period of silence, I asked people to share that the picture spoke to them and I was so blessed by what I heard from the group. The wisdom of the group was so evident as others brought insights that I had not thought of.
One shared of how she loves Autumn because she is able to see the wind as it blows the leaves around. She shared of how it is like those times when we are able to see the signs of God’s Spirit at work.
Another shared of how this leaf was destined to fall to the ground, or so it seemed. But it was caught and never made it to the ground. She shared that this speaks to her of God’s working in our lives that we often expect one thing to happen but God’s path is much different.
I reflected on the fact that I could probably try to drop a leaf on these branches 100 times and never have it get caught like this one did. Just as we think we can take care of things on our own, we are reminded time and time again that God’s ways are so much higher than ours.
These are just a few of the beautiful insights that stirred. What stirs in you as you take this image in?