A real and active virtue

Kathy, my friend and fellow camera enthusiast, at the Missouri Botanical Garden in 2008

“True contentment is a real, even an active, virtue – not only affirmative but creative. It is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it.”  — G. K. Chesterton

Although my habit of taking photographs wherever I go sometimes annoys my companions, a few friends share this passion and understand.  Photographs are, for me, one way of getting the most out of any situation.  When I freeze a moment in time with a photograph, I am saying to myself, “I am happy — or at least content — to be right here, right now, and want always to remember it.”  Many of the photos I take are of everyday situations, and I think people are often amused or bewildered at why I would want to capture the mundane or even unpleasant in a photo.  But Chesterton’s words have helped me to understand that usually, the urge to bring out my camera springs from the creativity of contentment.


  1. I have loved that you take so many pictures. What a great way to remember everyday of a life well lived.

    • And given that so many of my happiest memories involve you and your family, watch for people you recognize who may show up in future posts! 🙂

  2. Eric Hedden

    The man who spoke of finding contentment in whatever situation he found himself (Phil. 4:11) took it up another notch in his advice to a young preacher (1Timothy 6:6).

    • Thanks, Eric, for the reminder of these wonderful verses. Godly contentment is a life-giving principle that is too often neglected by people immersed in today’s frenetic, high-stress world.

  3. Well put! I, too, take odd (mundane) pics, as evidenced by my fb post today. But they do remind me the everyday is important and worth stopping to appreciate in a captured moment. Thanks for voicing the motive!

    • Thanks Barb! As Moms, we do a lot of important tasks that are not generally treated with much fanfare, or even noticed at all. Perhaps we develop radar for seeing the many “little” things that will turn out to be big things in hindsight.

  4. Kathy

    I love the way you’ve provided possible reasoning for our photography enthusiasm! It does capture that momentary happiness and contentment. For me, the visual image (whether I’m looking through the camera to find one or later viewing the photo I’ve taken) allows me to be more present, to focus, to quiet everything else that’s going on, whether it be typical noise and activity or emotional distractions. I can get lost in that moment, into another place. Just think Mary Poppins and the sidewalk paintings!

    • Kathy, exactly! And “framing” a photo helps to isolate just one or a few aspects of a situation, so that they can be appreciated in detail. It’s so easy for tiny, almost miraculous specifics to get lost in the shuffle. Thanks for being with me here, AND for all the times you’ve been with me behind a camera!

      • Kathy

        I love all our time together: talking on phone about books and kids and life, taking walks, AND capturing wonderful images together while photographing!

        • Thank you, Kathy. Here’s hoping we are again out taking pictures together sometime in the near future.


  1. Rejoice in the way things are | Defeat Despair

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