Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sometimes losses come in ways that are never to be understood and this week has been shattered by a loss of a beautiful young friend of mine named Margo Jennings. I met Margo when she was a bit more than a toddler and have had the pleasure of recording her with her charming sisters and parents as she grew into the stunning and happy teen that was lost to this world a week ago. She was not one of our Soul children, as she was healthy and living a life that seemed destined for something great, but that ended with an accident on a swing. As I went to say goodbye tonight I had the honor of holding her parents in my arms and thanking them for letting me know their daughter. I have always admired the way Laura and Mark have parented and tonight was no exception. It was especially hard for me as this family have been supporters of Soulumination from the start but none of us imagined that I would ever serve them through our mission. I send endless love to the entire family, I am so very sorry for this loss.

Margo's dad cried as he said he doesn't know how I do what we do here at Soul, but I have been thinking about it and its not really something that any of us really want to do, its just simply the right thing to do. Honoring these young lives is the least I can do for a community that has long supported my business in photography. The work is hard but it has grace. The work is not a choice really its a calling to try to use a talent in a way that will maybe bring some small peace to shattered lives. Any of our shooters would tell you that the work has a way of giving you a feeling of doing something meaningful, something beyond the normal and into the spiritual.

I also worked again with a new family for Soul at Children's, I met them last Saturday night but returned today to get a few more shots with the siblings of their tiny one. While I was at the hospital I was privileged to listen to a panel of bereaved parents explain their feelings about how one is treated when in the situation of losing a child. I am thankful for this opportunity and feel that I learned more about compassionate work.

I send love and hope across the miles to another dear teen friend of mine, Marin Morrison as she lives out her dream as an Olympic Athlete, representing the United States in swimming at the Paralympics. She safely completed the first leg of her journey to Beijing and you would think I am competing myself for all the excitement it brings me. But I do get to be a little bitty part as when she left she was wearing on of the eye patches that I made for her. I don't know if she noticed that on one of them I signed the inside and drew a little heart as I couldn't resist letting her know that I think she is truly a hero.

I want to thank my dear friend Kurt Smith for accompanying me tonight. His support and expertise are such a gift to my work. I thank him and I close tonight in love and peace and sharing the prayer he sent me. Reading it and thinking about the work of Soul has brought some needed comfort:

Prayer of Compassion
May any spiritual merit that I obtain
Through my devotion to the Way
Be dedicated to relieving the suffering
Of all living beings without exception.
May I be the doctor and the medicine
And may I be the nurse
For all sick beings in the world
Until everyone is healed.
May I fall as rain of food and drink
To clear away the pain of thirst and hunger.
And during times of famine
May I change myself into food and drink.
May I become an inexhaustible treasure
For those who are poor and destitute.
May I turn into all things that they could need
And may these be placed close by them.
May my bodily powers and all my acts
Of goodness in the past, present and future
Be offered without remorse
To the well being of the world.
May I be a protector for those without support,
A guide for all travelers on the Way.
May I be a bridge, a raft and a boat
For all those who wish to cross the water.
May I be the shore for those adrift,
A light for those in darkness.
May I be a home for the homeless
And a servant for the world.
May I act as the mighty earth,
Or like the free and open skies,
To support and provide the space
Whereby I and all others may grow.
And until they pass away,
May I also be the source of life
For all the realms of varied beings
That reach out unto the end of space.
~ Shantideva (India, 8th Century C.E.) ~