The other day I missed several great photo opportunities, as I made some rare travels out of the house:
- Driving to a hospital to get some lab work done at 7:15 AM – as the sun was struggling to bathe the earth with its golden glow through a dense fog, I passed a cemetery that was adorned with some wonderfully expressive (and slightly ominous-looking) oak trees. It was a truly breathtaking sight that I would have HAD to stop for if my camera had been in the car.
- When I drove eastward again around 4:oo PM, snowy mountains spread before me under gorgeous blue skies that were adorned with delicate wispy clouds. Again, the camera was safely back at home, helping to ensure that I got to my appointment on time.
- Leaving the doctor’s office shortly before 5:00, I was presented with a magical view of a foggy-haloed moon in front of a rich blue background.
- Lastly, as I got in the car and turned onto the road that would lead me home, rich, beautifully muted colors of the waning sun splayed across the horizon. Above the mountains a delicately painted sky was spotted with delicate, almost opalescent clouds, and furthermore marked nearly straight ahead with a mesmerizing crosshatch pattern left by several recent jet trails.
Any of these could have made for some wonderful pictures if only I had my camera. My family can tell you that I have many times bemoaned such irrecoverable occasions, and I was tempted to fall into a funk at the losses on this day as well. But suddenly it struck me that this was entirely useless and disrespectful waste of a precious gift.
Several realities pierced my consciousness as I struggled to get past my selfish desire to memorialize these moments. For one thing, it is an ultimate impossibility for us to in any way be prepared to immortalize all of the beautiful, unique once in a lifetime moments in life. Whether your method of capture is photography, video, music, painting, poetry, prose or whatever … you will never be able to truly seize all of the moments of wonder that God brings forth in your life. His gifts are immeasurable and uncountable – to think we can somehow abduct each of these bequests and do them justice is an insult to the Creator, whose will, ways and creative power are far beyond anything we could imagine.
I also struggled to grasp the concept that each vision was indeed a marvelous sight, whether or not the image was captured on virtual film. Is there really anything wrong with being given such an endowment, and having it be a momentary experience? Even a fleeting gift is, nonetheless, a gift. And why should I turn up my nose at these presents? Are they any less special because I’m not able to share them with others? No, in fact it seems that these are even more personal, special gifts than those I’m able to photograph and share. For these gifts were truly for me. And me alone.
Let me interject here that I realize others had opportunity to see the same things I witnessed, but did they? I imagine they did to some degree, but I’ll never know for sure. I also know that I tend to have a unique perspective on such things, and that most people don’t see a naked tree tree and wig out like I have been known to do. So what I saw, and my perspective on it, is truly unique.
One last thing I’d like to note here is that I am grateful to be able to see the things I do. Being alert to the voice of God, even as it appears in a sky painting, is a true Gift, and one I shall try to not forget or belittle. As long as I am able to see and appreciate these awe-inspiring gifts from God I can rejoice in them, and in these tiny glimpses of His unfathomable grace, love and creative magnificence. If I only see the wonder of God when I’m in Joe Photo mode, I am to be pitied as one missing out on many of life’s greatest gifts, and <gulp> I should have my camera confiscated until I straighten up!He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth— the Lord God Almighty is his name. ~ Amos 4:13, NIV