Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Utah Valley Magazine and the Woman at the Well

Photographer Kenneth Linge
 I had the opportunity the other day to meet an incredible person.  Kenneth Linge is a photographer from Norway that has been living in Utah for the last 10 years.  I personally have been a fan of his work since I was in my teenage years.  He takes amazing, beautiful, and touching photos.  

I got the chance to have my picture taken by him because I will be appearing in the Utah Valley Magazine in April.  While I was at his studio I got the chance to get to talk to him for about an hour.  I must tell you of his smile.  He has a smile that will warm your heart and open a room up to talking.  His spirit is so kind and so beautiful.  He has a very thick accent and at times it was hard to understand him, but I knew him from his spirit that I felt.  He made me feel instantly comfortable, and when he spoke to me I felt like the only person in the room.  His stories of people he has photographed was amazing.  He told me some of their stories and it touched my heart. 

As I sat there listening to him talk and tell of his life, my mind often drifted to that of the Savior's life.  The Savior had the opportunity to meet so many people from all walks of life, as Kenneth has.  He was able to talk to them, and hear their stories, touch their lives, and put a smile on their faces.  Through his stories we have each been touched.  The light of our Savior and his compassionate service has brought me to my knees in gratefulness many times.  

Kenneth told me of a story of a woman I know very well.  This woman was burned in a fire over 90% of her body.  I have met her, listened to her speak, and have felt of her spirit.  It was so interesting to hear Kenneth's version of this woman.  He got to be with her one on and one and got to take her picture for the same magazine I will be in.  He got to hear of her story and feel of her heart.  As he told me about what a beautiful person she is inside, he told me that the most beautiful thing about this woman was her bursting, brilliant, loving, eyes.  He said that is what he focused on when he took her pictures.  He said her eyes really were the window to her soul, and her soul is beautiful.  This story reminded me of Christ and the woman at the well.  I have loved this story for years, but to be reminded of it in such a beautiful way touched my heart.  This woman felt like she was not worthy of love, certainly not of her Savior's love, and as he touched her and embraced her and told her what an incredible human being she is, this woman softened.  She felt of our Savior's unconditional love and was once again renewed.  Even though she had been through so much, and had sinned in the eyes of God, Christ let her know that he loved her still.  That if she would then decide to follow him she would be clean forever.

Now I'm not saying that the girl that Kenneth burned was dirty or had sinned, I'm simply comparing how he found her wonderful spirit, love, and light, behind her burns and scars just as our Savior found the woman at the well's love and light, while she was living in sin.

It made me see that we are each equal in the eyes of God.  He loves us each the same, and if we will simply be willing to stop whatever it is that we may be doing and choose to follow him he will renew us and save us.  Our Heavenly Father has saved a place for us in his eternal kingdom.  It is up to us to choose to get there.  I know that no matter what he have done, may be doing, or will do in the future, our Savior and Heavenly Father will always accept us, forgive us, and one day they will welcome us into their eternal kingdom to live with them again.  I'm so grateful for this knowledge that I have and for the opportunity I had to meet Kenneth Linge and have him remind me of this very simple truth.

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