When God Speaks through Old Red Couches

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November 16, 2011 by Beth Hess

Over the last several weeks, I have had the total pleasure of being a student in Superhero Photo class — an online course not just about the techniques of photography, but the bigger view of actually SEEING photo opportunities. Even, and maybe even ESPECIALLY, when they just seem like super ordinary, non-photo-worthy thing. (See my Flickr feed.)

One of my favorite parts of the class is the weekly Treasure Hunt, which really trained me to look for opportunity to see beauty all over the place — and in places I have looked at, but not seen, before. Several weeks ago, in a lesson on Beauty in the Ordinary, one of our Treasure Hunt items was discarded furniture. Our instructor, Andrea Scher, showed amazing photos of old mattresses against graffiti walls and an abandoned couch that looked like it was dropped right on a photo set for the perfect shot.

So I looked. I swear I did. I even had Christian looking. We’d scour the country roads looking for something on the side of the street. We even pass the waste transfer station everyday. But nothing. And I kind of forgot about it.

Then last Thursday, I cut through a regular Fayetteville neighborhood as a shortcut to avoid some traffic. And there it was.

Such a funny thing to get giddy about. But I had found it.

I was so excited by this silly story that I shared it with a friend that morning. Which led to a talk about the photography class. Which led to a call to her photography friend. Which turned out to be EXACTLY the inspiration he needed for a project. Inspiration actually, that HE didn’t know he was looking for in quite that way, but I could hear in his voice that it was a BIG piece of the puzzle God was shaping for him. And I was blessed to be a part.

Some say God works in mysterious ways. I guess sometimes it feels like that from our point of view. But sometimes he works through Old Red Couches — and THAT is just about one of the coolest things I can imagine. Our creative and wonderful God.

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