Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Grown Up Christmas List

There is a great song by that name. It's been covered by a bunch of country artists over the years. It always makes me think, what is my grown up Christmas List.

It's been a tough year. I think a lot of us, and probably myself included, have let the pressures of the economy and the challenge of facing a world full of problems we can't individually change chip away at our inner souls. We're a little less hopeful. A little less forgiving. A little less convivial. We root for each other a little less and we protect ourselves a little more. I guess my biggest Christmas wish is that enough light would appear at the end of this present darkness that we could start to look up and move toward that instead of staying hunkered down. That light is whatever it is for you. It is not a religious thing or a socio-economic thing or a world peace thing or anything like that. It’s my thing and your thing. It’s the thing that gives us hope.

I also wish we could figure out a way to stop wasting time on the meaningless and focus on the meaningful. There is a world full of need around us and instead of reaching out to see how we can help, we get lost in petty trivialities. Some of this is mere mimicry. The folks that we look up to seem to ignore what is important in favor of what is interesting. Headlines, whether twittered or printed, hold favor over real contribution. That’s our fault in a way. Real help is hard. It takes time. We want it now!

It impacts our own industry too. Some of it is amusing. On our own forums I am often amused at the level to which people will go to fight about things like Canon or Nikon, PCs or Macs, Lightroom or Aperture, etc. Some of that is natural. It can also be fun. But goodness sakes folks, why waste the time and energy and risk the friendships on things that ultimately mean so little? I wish we could remind ourselves in those moments that the point we want so fervently to be accepted is really not all that important. (BTW - in case you’re still wondering, the answers are; Canon, Lightroom, and Mac.. :-)

Some of it has been a challenge and can be destructive. This year a lot of emotional capital has been spent on both sides of a great divide. Are the folks who teach seminars qualified? Is their “fame,” whether simply inside of our own marketplace or even reaching outside, “warranted.” A certain amount of good natured humor tests those qualifications. It’s a good thing. Frankly I think it becomes a little less worthwhile when humorous challenge becomes personal attack. I wonder why we spend the time? Why not simply ignore what we disagree with and focus on our own businesses, friends and community? I wish we could find that ability and move on.

I wish we could all find more opportunities to give back. They’re all around us. When we hold our cameras in our hands we hold a powerful and affirming gift. Those I serve, so much more than I, have the power to create meaningful memories and reminders for a world around them that so needs a reason to smile and feel valued. Through the charity events we hold and even the smaller things I’ve been involved with, I never cease to be amazed when those who have so little outward reason find the inward impulse to smile when the lens points their way. It’s a gift I can give them that costs me nothing but time. I wish to use it more.

In whatever way you celebrate the Holidays I wish for you peace and laughter and the knowledge that you are loved. More than that though, I wish Hope for you. I wish the Hope of a future that is bigger and better than today. If food sustains, sleep refreshes, and breath gives light, Hope is the fuel of the future and there is no greater gift than the dream of a better tomorrow.


Studio Foto said...

So well put Jim! I have been thinking about the waisted time worrying about other phogs and realizing I need to get back to me. Life is a fleeting moment and I want more out of it, so I sarted helping people whenever I can however I can. So much is trivial life is more important! And yes(canon [although nikon is pretty awesome now], lightroom, mac, and Starbucks]

Rachel LaCour said...

Emily Dickinson's stanzas about hope adorn the first page of my journal for 2011, inspired by this post and a long overdue visit with my grandparents:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.