I used to hate the word grey. In fact, still do. Put simply, grey is just a dirty white. It's a tainted colour. It's not what it's meant to be.
After taking 6th form photography I vowed that it wouldn't be a word registered on my vocabulary. You see, in the darkroom, your goal and purpose is to get the best print possible. You want absolute blacks and absolute whites. You want it to be clear, not washed out, and definitely not grey. God forbid!
It was a word I heard far too much. Everytime the teacher was talking to me about my prints and the word 'grey' was uttered I knew that it meant more work - more time slaving in the darkroom. When 'grey' was used to describe my work, all I heard was that I was crap at something that means an awful lot to me.
Grey, to me, means disappointment. It means hard work. It means less than the best. It means tainted. It means that I'm not good enough.
But this week I have been challenged with this. Grey is confronting me yet again.
In your walk with God you are going to have highs and lows. You're naive if you think otherwise. Sometimes you will be in a season of closeness. Seasons when you hear Him all the time and have plenty of spiritual experiences to keep you feeling full. Likewise, there will be seasons of distance. Periods of time when you cannot see Him, hear Him, or feel his prescence with you at all.
Nine times out ten as we go through our day we are not going to physically recognise God with us. We are just going to be doing our job at work. We are just going to be hanging out the washing. We are just going to be catching up with friends. Fireworks are not going to constantly be marking our relationship with God. It's easy to go to a youth camp and get caught up in the hype and excitement. But my question for you is 'when you're 42 years old, what will it be that keeps you going for God?'
I was talking to a good friend of mine and she shared with me something that an older mentor of hers had shared with her - learn to become comfortable with grey.
Things are not always going to be cystal clear with God. Sometimes our prints are going to be tainted grey. Sometimes they will turn purple at the edges if they are not kept in the fixer for long enough. But we have to be alright with that. It will mean that when we do get the perfect print - absolute blacks and absolute whites - we can relish in thanks.
Learn to appreciate your moments with God. And in all those other times, be okay with grey.
"The photographers palette is a thousand shades of grey"
- H. E. Clarke
I am going to have to change my connotations of grey.
i hate the question "what's your favourite colour?". period. because honestly i hate the colour orange, but i love a wheaty, auburn colour that warms you to your bones. so my answer for people is white. white is fresh, and clean, & pure, and perfect & faultless, and holds so many possibilities.
tones are more what i'm all about yo'. paint me colour and it would amaze me more than any detailed portrait. literally. i would stare at tones and shades of the same "colour" for hours and be amazed. like dazzled. like could-not-speak-because-there-are-no-words for what this colour is saying to me.
colour is everything. colour has feelings and creates emotions. colour connects to your soul. colour speaks so many words that i can not. i could have a conversation through colour and i would never even need to utter a single word. how awesome is that. how unique and special and absolutely 'whole' colour is.
what is "favourite colour" anyhow? is it the colour that moves you the most at-that-moment? is it the colour that makes you feel the most happy? is it the colour that describes your life right now. maybe the question should be "if your life was a colour, it would be...?"
if my life was a colour, it would be some sort of aquamarine olive green. which only helps proves my point. who would know all the names for all of the shades of all of the tones of all the colours on the spectrum? anyway. aquamarnie olive green - think mold. think slime. think of the colour that is currently dominating the sides of your fish tank. my life is murky and messy at the moment. its not so pretty. i've allowed things to get away from me and so I've got this horrible colour growing. but believe me, it's oh so natural.
i don't like colourful things. i hate them actually. hate hate hate hate hate hate. hate. (this is my rule, rainbows are the exception). colourful things send mixed messages. its like an explosion of emotions. its unreadable and unclear and messy. i'm more of a monotone girl. i think that people take that for being boring. but really its being everything. its being exactly who i am, at that time. it's visual. it's me.
i really could go on for hours. then again i realise no one wants to hear me talk about colour for hours. so i'll save you. the end. open your eyes everyone.
p.s. check out some 'flat paintings' by the artist adrian schiess. he gets it.
I was at work the other day when a brother and sister came up to the office. I was just asking another child how his school camp had been.
"What was the best part about camp?"
His full grin reply - "everything."
Did he not understand the question? "No, no, you have to pick one thing to be your favourite."
This is when the brother and sister stepped into the conversation. They both would have been younger than ten, but I noticed there was something about them. They were bright. But not in the typical I-go-to-the-library-and-do-all-my-homework-before-it's-due type bright. I can't quite put my finger on it. They just were.
"But everything's the same," they said.
It was in a 'why does he have to choose' type tone. These less than 10yr olds were putting me in my place. They informed me that everything is one-thing. So, no. He doesn't have to choose one single favourite thing about camp because camp, as a whole, as one-thing, was the best thing about camp. He understood the question perfectly.
Everything's the same.
They continued on, telling me how everything is connected.
"See", the girl said, "that chair you're sitting on is connected to the floor, which is touching this wall, which I am touching."
"Yeah, I'm in China right now."
"I'm at the Grand Canyon."
What really made me laugh was when the girl told me she is, in actual fact, standing ontop of me.
Although there are obvious flaws in their philosophy I think they were onto something. There was some pearl of wisdom in what they were saying.
Everything's the same.
Everything is part of something bigger. It all add's up. The small things matter because they are part of the bigger picture. All those small moments that seem insignificant are really a part of the main attraction. There is no part but just the whole. Because everything's the same. You will find a connection to things if only you look for them.
"Fortunate are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing."