Picking up Andrew at Tampa International Airport, cell-phone photo taken at 7:29 PM.
I continue to learn interesting lessons from my photographs. I’m not a photographer in the same sense that I’m a writer. I like to take pictures, and I’ve sold enough over the years to encourage me in the process, but I don’t have the same skill or the patience with the art as I bring to my writing.
That said, I’ve learned that photography (like golf) is not so much about the equipment as what you do with it. I have a good friend (you know who you are!) who spent over $2,500 on a set of irons – no woods, just the irons – and it didn’t take a stroke off his score. Some of the best images I’ve captured this summer were taken with my cell-phone camera. I have a brand-new Nikon D3100 that shoots a 14.2 megapixel picture. But photography is more about how you look than what you look with.
Then the other truth here is that the Nikon D3100 isn’t going to do me much good when it’s packed away in the car or the house, whereas I usually have my phone in my pocket. I have to be ready, too.
The cousins sharing a moment at the Lake Marion
Being ready and being patient are not the same thing, and they almost sound like opposites; but being ready and being patient turn out to be very closely related, and they comprise two important elements of picture-taking.
Because, unless we are willing to be patient, we’ll never actually be completely ready.
Some people say they’re patient because they hang around a long time. But, meanwhile, they ride right through the “patient” part of the equation by snapping pictures non-stop. I understand the temptation (in fact I subscribe to the “it’s better to throw some away than miss the one you want” school of photography) but patience requires eyes wide open and a sense of awareness, while limiting your view to the one you can see through the lens is too restrictive by far.
As I’m writing this new book (and, NB to my editor, this manuscript is – simultaneously – more difficult than I imagined and better than I had dreamed) I am learning a lot from these cell-phone images.
I’m learning to be patient in terms of not typing frenetically even though the deadline is looming.
And I’m learning to be ready in terms of grabbing hold of a thought, some insight or wisdom if and when it floats by.
This morning, for example, I left my study to cut the grass. I let some of the ideas I’ve been working on sit on the desk and stew, but then I carried a few along with me for the walk, chewing on them gently to the crisp, swish-swishing sound of the sharp blade trimming high grass. Then, two-thirds of the way through the long swath up against the golf course, I left the mower and ran helter-skelter into the house, grass clippings transferred to carpet, to work on a concept that had suddenly moved into clarity.
Patience made me ready.
Rebekah writing scripture into the floor at the entrance of our new discipleship center
The final cell-phone image in this post is of Rebekah, writing scripture into the floor at the entrance of the new building that represents both patience and being ready. When we dedicate the space in October the project will have covered (from conception to completion) the second 7.5 years of Rebekah’s 15 year ministry in Brandon….
Faith metaphor? Spirituality tie-in? Moral lesson? Devotional twist? Come on, people. Do I have to paint you a picture…
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world – James 1:27
Health has been very much on my mind lately. Not so much my health – although I must admit that various parts of my body have been creaking a lot – as the health of people I know and love. There is cancer, bypass surgery, pregnancy, M.S., and the daily challenges of living with Type I diabetes.
This week, then, when I visited the Brandon Outreach Clinic to interview executive director Deborah Meegan for a Tampa Tribune article, the stories I heard probably made more impact than the usual.
Ten years ago the clinic was open two half-days a week. Today it’s four days a week all day long. There is no end to the need, and that need is increasing.
First let’s dispel myth # 1 – The Brandon Outreach Clinic primarily sees patients who work hard, don’t over-extend themselves, and do their very best to pay their bills. Most people need help because of factors such as no insurance, inadequate insurance, unemployment, savings-depleting events, and long-term illnesses.
More often than not, we’re talking about people who deal with chronic conditions such as asthma, heart disease, disability, or diabetes.
“Sometimes,” Meegan said, “a family can afford to see a doctor but simply can’t come up with $200 (or significantly more) a month for medication.”
the Brandon Outreach Clinic
Or there’s a mandatory waiting period – sometimes as long as 24-months – between eligibility for benefits and when they kick in. Or their insurance has been changed and now they can’t afford the deductibles or the co-payments. Or a job has been lost and the cost of COBRA is out of reach.
Bottom line, in this and every community around the nation, hundreds if not thousands of people fall between the cracks of a labyrinthine and cold-hearted system that simply forgets that it’s the stories of real people that get lost when all we look at is the numbers; or, worse, the politics of health.
“We serve 8,400 people a year,” Deborah Meegan said. “We have close to 100 doctors who volunteer. Then, in addition, nurses, nurse-practitioners, physicians’ assistants, pharmacists, and lab techs… But we still can’t keep up.”
With a 2011 operating budget of just $230,000, Meegan’s team will deliver significantly more than $2 million of healthcare. One recent accounting documented a value ratio approaching eleven to one.
Yet, and this is a fact no community should not tolerate, Meegan reported the clinic will fall well short of their budget in 2011 receipts.
Only four Brandon churches (and we’re one of them) have a faithful, consistent, “This is our responsibility too” relationship with the outreach clinic.
Ultimately, though, this story rests on the real-life drama of actual people, our friends and neighbors, who are either helped… or not.
And so, along with the joy of making a difference, Deborah Meegan’s heart is broken by the knowledge that people suffer and die because they can’t or don’t now how to access medical care.
“I think of one 46-year-old women with breast cancer,” she said. “By the time we saw her the tumor weighed 34 pounds. She didn’t see a doctor for two years because she couldn’t afford to and she was scared she’d lose everything. She died a few weeks after surgery. She died and she didn’t need to. It makes me cry.”
From the same Greenville clinic (image used without permission...)
Listen up, people. Accessible healthcare is not a luxury item.
So give generously to the Brandon Outreach Clinic, or the equivalent facility in your community
Encourage your church, or businesses, or community organization to go the extra mile when it comes to chipping in and taking ownership
And lobby government, local, state and federal, and encourage them to rethink the way we chose to allocate resources
I personally know individuals who have tried to take on the healthcare burden of just one family member who is uninsured. Bottom line, it’s impossible, even for those most of us would consider comfortably well of.
This is a corporate responsibility, no one gets a pass.
A Letter to David Henry Campbell (birthdate as yet undetermined):
Birthday goodies for my Dad
Today’s post is an actual letter to my (as-yet unborn but already dearly loved) grandson, David Henry. David currently resides in Moodus, Connecticut… or wherever his mama, Naomi, happens to be at the moment. He is expected to make his debut in mid-October.
Dear David Henry: Today is your great-grandfather’s birthday. He’s 83. I thought you’d like to hear about it because you’re named for him (along with your dad’s grandpa, Henry).
We had a quiet gathering last night in Sarasota. Yes, that’s right, you have great-grandparents living in the Sunshine State. I know it sounds cliché, but – believe me – your great-grandfather David (G-G/F-D) is anything but cliché.
There are a couple of highlights from last night I’d like you to know about. This is not just history, David Henry, it’s already a part of who you are.
I know you haven’t had any math yet, but in order to be 83 today, G-G/F-D had to have been born in 1928. G-G/M-G (that’s your great-grandmother Grace) asked him a few questions about the years he spent living with foster-families in the north of England during the first three years of World War Two. You see, he was one of those children who were “evacuated” because of the bombs and the threat of invasion.
G-G/F-D talked about the four homes he lived in – The Greens, the Browns, the Whites and the Wrights (a doctor, a miner, the landlord of a pub and an Army family. G-G/F-D said he had to share a bed designed for one, and that he was hungry all the time – “But it didn’t mean they didn’t feed me,” he said, “It’s just that I was eleven years old!”
He did things like play cricket, attend a small mission chapel down the street, and go to the movie-house to watch the huge organ literally rise up from the floor when the organist played during the intermission (and he only got to go to the movies because his parents weren’t there to stop him!).
David Henry, I hope you get to spend a lot of time listening to G-G/F-D’s stories. And, don’t forget this, G-G/M-G has some pretty wild ones too. These stories are a deep part of who you are.
David and Grace talk about life in WW2
Talking of who you are, that’s the other thing I want to share from G-G/F-D’s 83rd birthday party. We sang around the piano. This may sound like a small thing; but, believe me, it is huge.
G-G/F-D picked two of his favorite hymns. We sang “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind…” and “I thank thee Lord that thou hast made the earth so bright….” Both of them have six verses and the second one – BTW – was part of the service the day I married your grandmamma Rebekah.
But here’s what I’m getting at – and it’s more evidence that I am becoming a sentimental, tender-hearted old-dude!
I heard my dad’s voice – your G-G/F-D – and so I looked over at him and my eyes just filled up. I saw how he was singing without even looking at the hymn book (all twelve verses if you count both songs), and I saw how full his heart is with faith and love and the peace that comes from knowing the Lord he was singing about, and I understood how fortunate you are, David Henry, to be born into a family defined by such faithfulness and commitment…
Listen closely, David Henry. Do everything in your power to make sure such a story becomes more than a cherished memory, or a piece of nostalgia, or a quaint entry in the family history. Such a faith must be experienced, and owned, and sought out, and practiced, and crafted into the character of what it means to be David Henry Campbell of Connecticut. Bottom line, dear grandson, it has to become your very own.
So I am – at this moment – praying for your amazing parents, Naomi and Craig. I pray that they, too, cherish the hope and joy and great love that comes from establishing a deliberately Christian home.
Your G-G/D-B (great-granddaddy Bob) spoke the following benediction over your Mama and Daddy, Naomi and Craig, just a short while before he passed away. He was not feeling at all well that day, but he mustered his strength and called them back as they were saying good-bye. He spoke clearly and he spoke from his heart:
“‘The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26