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Power of Pictures

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“I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes
rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.”

–Psalm 30:1-2

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week. I have a book of beautiful nature pictures taken by youth who struggle with mental illness. Photography is part of a therapeutic arts program called “In a New Light” at Northwest Passage, a treatment center whose mission is dedicated to restoring hope through innovative mental health services for children and families.

One picture is of the rising moon over Badlands National Park, taken by a 16-year-old boy from Madison, who says, “Photography helps me be calm and helps me find a side of myself where I can just be me. For me, the Badlands is the most peaceful place in the world.” About his picture he says, “As I see the moon in the sky rising like a bright white cloud I feel I have overcome the dark side of my life.”

Another picture of a fall leaf covered with raindrops was taken by a 16-year-old girl from Madison, who says, “My journey that led me to Northwest Passage was filled with lots of anger and self-destructive behaviors. In a New Light has contributed significantly to my change.”

As I have been outside this past week, I am noticing more and more trees turning various shades of brilliant colors that offer breathtaking beauty. Some of the trees look picture perfect. There is power in pictures, whether it is an actual picture or the feeling that you are looking at something that is picture perfect. And each of those pictures offers a story of hope.

May we take in the hope that God’s creation has to offer this week.