Braid Mission


Looking Through the Window

Photo by at Unsplash

You might have friends or colleagues who hang vacation photos in their office, or perhaps you do so yourself.

When I was living in Knoxville, Tennessee, I would often visit with a good friend over lunch. One day I walked over to his office to get him and found that he was busy in a meeting. So, I sat myself down in one of the office chairs and began my wait.

As I sat there I began to survey his office more carefully. There were books and files and a computer and a table with magazines appropriate for his profession.

I also took time to examine more closely the photographs that decorated the walls and shelves and desk, photos that I had simply given a cursory glance all the other times I had been there. There were the usual photos of family at various stages of life.

Among the photos were two of very similar scenes, desert scenes of red rock and harsh, barren landscapes that are so incredibly beautiful in their own way.

I inquired about these two photos when my friend entered into his office and discovered that they were taken in New Mexico at a place where he would go on vacation. The reason, he continued, that he kept those photos in his office was that this desert landscape, this singular place was the location where he felt most alive, most himself, most at peace.

He would return as often as possible to this New Mexico “oasis” as often as possible. And while he would engage in the usual vacation activities of hiking, or visiting historical sites and taking rest and recreation, he would also paint, an activity he never did at home for there was no time.

He would often sit and watch the colors of the desert shift and the light coruscate across rock faces and he would find himself drawn to a deeper place, a soulful place where some parts of the mysteries that are life were braided more tightly together. And he would paint as a way to journal.

He kept the photos in his office in order to provide windows back to that place, back to that feeling, back to that feeling of life in the midst of the routine and mundane back in Knoxville.

What my friend named is perhaps the reason we humans like to take and keep photos.

I am certain that in part we take and keep them as entertainment, and in part we take and keep them in order to document. But, there are probably those photos that serve as windows, windows back into an experience that is rare and unusual, that allow us into a place where we felt alive, or felt life or felt our life more fully. Windows into something profound and powerful.

We lift those and hold those photos close because they are necessary windows that lead us not only back to an event but bring the event forward into the present and cast a hope that we might one day experience yet again a moment of profound in our lives.

With regards to Braid we understand the frustration that often accompanies the rules around sharing photographs of our youth. While the rules are understandable it is regrettable on so many levels. The rules make it difficult to take photos as a part of the entertainment of an outing. They make it difficult to capture an outing in order to document what occurred.

But, they also make it difficult to capture those moments that speak of the profound. It is difficult to create that window which allows you as a team to enter back into a moment that spoke of trust, and relationship and love. Especially if they are having a hard time, or day, or outing.

That is why we so appreciate the creative ways that our mentors continue to try and create these windows, the photographs for our youth and to share with one another.

While we will always need to encourage caution we feel we must also encourage abandon in being creative. They can be gifts for all of us but especially for your youth who so need windows to look through and continue to see the life and love they find with their mentors.