Serenity Circle - March 2020 (Peace that passes all understanding)

Welcome to our March 2020 Serenity Circle.

It's 10.12 pm on Monday night and I haven't anything prepared for my serenity post.  Normally I'm pretty much ready to go by this stage, but not so this month.  I've hit a blank wall! 

I tried to capture some photos this evening but the wind whipped up and despite my best intentions, I only captured a single photo.  However during these few short moments of concentration, I forgot all my cares!  Unfortunately, it isn't lasting!

Craving serenity in a world gone mad!

I'm desperately craving sustaining serenity.  It's been a difficult week hearing the news unfold re: COVID-19 as it threatens to sweep through whole communities,  nations.... the world even.  DID I REALLY SAY THAT?  The world?  I can barely take it in.


It seems surreal!  One minute we are all going about our daily business and the next we're waiting to prepare for a possible lock down! 

Hearing about the loss of life—someone's precious loved ones—and thinking about how this impacts families, friends and communities is heart-rending.

Witnessing panic buying in food stores has also been unsettling.  People are over-reacting, not considering the poor, the elderly and the more vulnerable in society as they struggle to buy or even afford simple necessities.  I'm hearing stories of health workers breaking down after long shifts whilst trying to find food in emptied shops!  I think I'm more afraid of this selfish behaviour than the actual virus itself!     

Theatres, factories, offices, restaurants, schools, etc closing down overnight has also contributed to the unease as one by one whole communities and countries are turned upside down in an effort to suppress this new virus.  

The race is on between scientists all over the world to provide a vaccine, but what about the tremendous damage in-between times?  The loss of life, the sacrifices to education, massive financial losses, jobs under threat or being put under tremendous strain, the overwhelming burden on our health services, etc?

Uncertain times

Will life get back to 'normal' quickly afterwards?  Or will there be a 'new kind of normal' to get used to?  I'm being honest, the uncertainty stirs unrest within me and I'm beginning to feel anxiety regarding such a time as this.

Peace and calm

Photography provides a welcome distraction at the moment but can only provide temporary respite in these unchartered times.  I need something solid to stand upon - something to calm my troubled mind.  I reach for my Bible and turn to the Book of Psalms.  I turn the pages over to Psalms 23.  I tend to read this Psalm whenever I'm feeling anxious or afraid.  Whilst doing so, I'm reminded of a poem by Helen Steiner Rice.  You can read the words she wrote (including the Psalm) here:  There's peace and calm in the 23rd Psalm.

Soothing balm

I love photography and have found so many beautiful serenity moments as I've applied my concentration to this craft, but as aforementioned, it doesn't reach down into the deepest part of my soul and bring me sustaining peace and calm.  That's what I've craved more than anything during this new world crisis.... peace which surpasses all human reasoning and understanding.

And despite what I see, read or hear re: COVID-19, reading Psalm 23 reminds me that God is still on the throne ready to soothe troubled minds, sustain weary souls, as well as lead, guide and protect us with His presence as we walk through the dark shadows that the COVID-19 virus has cast over our lives.  Under His care, His goodness and mercy will lead us safely out the other side - blessed and able to look with hope towards the future.  

 "....You anoint my head with oil, my cup runneth over....
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life"
 - Psalm 23:5 & 6 -

I close my Bible.  It may be a bumpy road ahead, but I'm no longer feeling anxious and afraid.  My mind has been anointed with the soothing oil of God's Word and I'm resting in His peace.  🙏🙏🙏

 "Come into me all ye who are weary and haven laden
and I shall give you rest...." 
- Matthew 11:28 -

Next in the circle is Lori McLellan,  Calgary area Fine Art Photographer with her post "The Outdoors is Not Closed."  Looking forward to reading what the very talented Lori has to share and viewing her beautiful images captured during this past month.

About:  We are a collaborative group of photographers from various parts of the world - some working professionals, others hobbyists like myself.  The Serenity Circle represents a wide range of photography genres with the common theme being serenity moments experienced and captured during the past month.  This particular circle was established in April 2015 and is one of the longest running of its kind online.  It was set up by Nadeen Flynn, multi-genre photographer and teacher from Northern California.  

The Serenity Circle goes live on the 3rd Wednesday of each month.


Lori McLellan said…
I'm so glad you found a way to calm your self. I haven't felt like shooting anything new the past few days, either.

Challenging times, but I must believe we will get through them and life as we know it, or something slightly different, will still be there.

Thanks for all you do for this group, Wendy!
Wendy said…
They certainly are challenging times Lori. I believe there are valuable lessons to be learnt in the midst of any difficult times. It's also been great to see acts of human kindness at its best as well in the midst of these trying times.
NKAWoods said…
Wendy. The 23rd Psalm is wonderfully calming and reassuring. And that comes from someone who is not particularly religious. We will get through this, and we will all be better for it.

I echo Lori’s thoughts - thank you for all you do to keep this circle going. I am especially thankful for my online friends right now.
Eileen said…
These photos are so beautiful and calming, Wendy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for posting this month. It's not always easy.
Pam Douglas said…
I agree with you Wendy. Prayer has been by go to the past few days and it is helping calm my anxious mind. I too wonder if all will go back to normal or if there will be a new normal once this pandemic is over. Thanks for sharing your always helps to get things from another perspective.
Wendy said…
Thank you so much Nancy. I love the Psalms....they are so relevant to us even today. I've found so much comfort from reading them over the years.

Psalm 23 is one of my favourites and I turn to it often. Psalm 91 is another.

Yes indeed, I believe we can definitely come through this together and learn so much in the midst as well.

Maybe this time will be a time of reflection also. We have so much but sometimes don't appreciate such (or each other) as societies in general.

Yes, we will get through this time and be better for it. Totally agree xx
Wendy said…
Thanks so much Eileen. Xx
Wendy said…
Thank you Pam. I find when I take my eyes off God, I tend to falter, but find much strength resting in Him. I've been through some tough times in life (as have we all) but they have been much easier to bare under the shadow of His wings (so to speak) than outwith.

Psalm 91 xx
eph2810 said…
I agree with you; photography is a great escape from the uncertainty, but His Word is my strength. I feel mostly calm when I read His word.

As for normal - I think that we will have a new normal, and my hope and prayer is that it involves a lot more kindness toward humans. There have to many unnecessary unkind things been happening (stock piling by some). We need to be more considerate of each other. We only have this one planet, and we need to protect it for future generations.
Wendy said…
I couldn't agree more Iris.

Think we need to humble ourselves and seek God even more in these times. He will heal our land but not just of sickness but of but of the sickness of sin. You rightly said, there is so much selfishness.
Nadeen said…
Wendy, such a beautiful post. I feel calmer just reading it. Thank you for keeping the circle going. It makes my heart happy to see it continue each month.
Wendy said…
Hugs Nadeen - we are all keeping the circle going. I'm so grateful to the group and love reading each post every new month.

It's been a tough one so far and looks like it's going to be a bumpy ride for us all
for a while, but we'll learn, grow and come out stronger :)

Take care, and thanks for the encouragement xx