Living near the Anacostia River grants easy access to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. In peak summer, the gardens are resplendent with lotus and lilies, with colors ranging from white to yellow to pink to magenta to purple, all cradled in emerald green foliage.
Beginning several years ago, taking my little point-and-shoot digital camera, I head over to photograph the lotus. It isn't easy. The lotus move constantly with the water and the breezes. The summer sun is so bright, seeing an image on the viewfinder of the camera is impossible. So, holding the camera at arms length over the lotus, I chant “OM Mani Padme Hum” — “Praise the Jewel in the Lotus” — not knowing what image is being captured.
It is an act of faith.
The precious jewel offered by the lotus is gained through observation. The lotus has its roots in the mud and the muck. Sometimes turbulent waters swirl around it. Yet it grows tall, water rolls off its leaves, its beautiful flower always tracking the sun.
My personal motto is “living like the lotus.” To be like the lotus, to shine one's inner beauty despite murky and turbulent circumstances, always seeking the Light is a worthy goal.
Excitedly, I return home and download the images to my computer. Only then do I know what that faith revealed.
This year, to support the work of World Central Kitchen in feeding the hungry, I've created a shop on society6 using the lotus and lily images. There are masks, cards, mugs, prints, and more. Not only does Society6 donate a portion of income to WCK, I'm donating my earnings as well. It's my way of thanking Chef Jose Andres, WCK, and the Graces. I have faith.