Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Things We Miss


This summer, I have let loose my inner Ansel Adams and explored the beauty of photography.  There have been sweet, serendipitous moments when through persist patience...and sometimes just stubborn doggedness, I have been able to capture a moment like the one above.

But, as much as this photo makes me smile...and I pray it might evoke and invoke something with you too...I don't necessarily want to talk about just one photo.  Rather, I am excited about the creative process that leads to one split second when my finger finds the button to snap this one.

A bit of background.  We were at Sunken Gardens.  We had just started to wander around.  We saw some turtles, who were most cooperative at moving slowly so I could capture their picture.  We saw the yellow variety of the Golden Shrimp Plant, which I am sure you remember from high school biology class is really Pachystachys lutea.  And yes, I did totally Google that because even though I was just at Sunken Gardens...even though that Scientific Classification was clearly labeled on the sign in front of my face...I could not even begin to remember those Latin words!  Like the turtle, the plant posed and even slightly swayed in the breeze like a model smiling for the camera.  Then, we went to the butterfly garden.

Now, when one goes to a "butterfly garden"...one expects to see...butterflies.  But, when we first started to wander and walk around the colorful plants, there was one butterfly.  One.  Let's call this butterfly, "George".  George, I believe, had ingested the last few drops of someone's discarded 5-hour energy drink or perhaps had visited a humming bird feeder to sip of the sugary substance usually inside...because George could not and would not stay still.  George would no more than land on a flower petal, then he would be off again.  George flight path was a bit woozy.  The brown and golden parts of George's wings would forever remain elusive and evasive from my eye.

Not that I didn't try mind you (see the comment above about me being stubborn and dogged).  I must have had 10 blurry photos of "George" on my camera.  5 more of where George was in the frame just seconds before, but then suddenly gone.  5 more of me trying to get a picture of George, but what I really got was the ground or the sky or my wife's left ear because as I was trying to follow George's incomprehensible flight pattern, my reflects would flick my wrist in a failed attempt to get George and his beautiful brown butterfly wings to show you.

I never got the photo.

So, often what we show the world is the perfect.  We post to Facebook and Instantagram the parts and pieces of our life that will get the most likes.  Even when we post something bad, it is often as a straw man set up to show how we overcame the difficulty and that the struggle is real.  And this isn't new, by the way.  I am sure in Caveman times people didn't paint on cave walls the time someone slipped on some ice, landed on his face, and almost impaled himself with his spear...which by the way would have totally been me.

The photos we don't get.
Or the blurry ones we don't post.
Or what I like to call, a thousand ordinary days when life unfolds in brilliant, technicolor boringness.

When there is no beautiful butterfly to post.

For me, it is trying to stay open to the moments of God's grace in the blurry mistakes of life that makes faith most vital and vibrant.  Staying open to God's love, especially when there is nothing exciting happening.  That is my invitation for me and I pray might stir the sacred in your soul too in these July days.

Grace and peace ~~

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