I don’t speak French.
And though I’ve been to France once, I don’t really know anyone who lives there.
So imagine my surprise when I was tagged in an Instagram post last week by someone I’ve never met who lives in France.
A couple of months ago, I started an account on Unsplash. If you’re not familiar with Unsplash, it’s a site that allows photographers to post their photos for the purpose of making them freely available for anyone to use.
It’s a popular site for bloggers because everyone who blogs is always looking for photos that fit their latest posts. I’ve been using Unsplash for a number of years and I decided to make some of my own photos available for others to download and freely use.
Among the photos I posted were a number of shots I took 2 summers ago when our boys were attending a week-long leadership experience at West Point.
At West Point, there is an area known as Trophy Point with absolutely stunning views overlooking the Hudson River. Situated among the trees and paths of Trophy Point are a number of concrete benches for people to relax, converse, or just take in the scenery.
I noticed that on the sides of all of these benches are stamped words that reflect certain character virtues. Words like “Responsibility”, “Trust”, “Discipline” and “Compassion”.
I didn’t think much of it but it turns out that these photos are among the most viewed and downloaded of the 60 photos I’ve uploaded to Unsplash so far.
Last week, an Instagram user from France, who goes by the name @s.ch.blog tagged me to alert me that they had downloaded one of my photos to use on their blog.
It was a nice gesture because Unsplash does not require that users alert photographers when their photos are downloaded. Nor is it required to credit the photographer when their photo is being used (though I always try to credit artists when I use their photos in my own posts).
The blogger who tagged me wanted to use my “Compassion” photo because they had written a poem, entitled “Compassion” and they thought my photo would fit well with their post.
The poem is a beautiful reflection on the concept of Compassion. You can read the entire poem (in French, Spanish or English) at the following link: https://www.histoiresdaujourdhui.com/post/compassion
It’s interesting how connected the world is these days and I find it humbling to know the Lord is somehow using a photo I took at West Point to connect with people half-way around the world!