When You Long to Capture Light

my daughter's impersonation of me... using her air camera

I've been on the back side of a camera so much lately I'm beginning to feel it is a part of me.  This little family is cooking up something wild and crazy and it involves photos. Thousands of photos. 

When the camera's set down, I sit at my computer and watch the screen as picture after picture loads in from the tiny rectangle I've stuck in a slot.

They make me so happy, those photo words. They each tell a part of a story. A story in pictures.

Did you know that you learn about life, about yourself, when you see what you've caught through a lens?

I sit there, as shot after shot loads... ten, twenty or more of each little idea. They are all different, every last one. Even if I have kept the angle, the composition, the settings, each one is unique. Each has a minutely different focus.

It still surprises me.

I ponder how many times I have hesitated to write about the "very same thing" someone else has written about. But what slightly different composition, what tilted angle, what brighter exposure might my words bring? Not because of my brilliance or insight but merely because each one who writes is unique. Just as each photo is unique.

The photos keep loading in.

And I think about light.

I think how photography is all about light, beautiful light. About the way it slants just so at the morning and evening golden hours... the way you can miss that evening hour and it goes all red and glowy... the way a certain tilt of the head can pull the face into perfect light but a turning brings a stark shadow.

I see how the whole world around is a trampoline of light. All green bouncing in my kitchen with its mint walls, pink and soft in my girl's room, shadowy in the cherry wood floored living room. All those colors pour into my photos even if the walls and floor aren't seen... colors carried on a stream of bounced light.

I marvel at this, what Jesus Himself said...
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  ~ Matthew 5:14-16 ~
It is too much to understand when I feel all shadowy and rumpled that I am light. Jesus being light... yes, this I understand (John 8:12). But me?

Oh that I would be a little stream of light to carry the bouncing colors of Life to the lenses of those around me! That I might catch and reflect His glory!

The photos appear one after another in empty squares... a steady checkering of the open iPhoto window.

Then I laugh at the screen, because I see that of all the ways I like to take photos, pulled in tight and close up is my very favorite.

And it's how I like to read God's Word... peeling apart this Greek word and that Hebrew word, following the trail of them throughout the scriptures. A microscope focused by my need to understand... a quest to grasp the ineffable.

And it's how I like to be with my people... all snuggled in, arms and legs draping, hair mingled and sweet words whispered. In close and tight, deeply known and deeply knowing.

Today's pictures are all in, thousands of little squares each capturing a moment.

It's a small life I live.

A series of moments.

A small beautiful light-filled life, with tiny perfect details that come from the hand of the One True King.

On Subduing Wild Ideas and Making Something Alive

Of late I notice when I get a few days away from this space I get antsy.

It's kind of a new thing. When I go for long writing breaks this doesn't happen, but lately I have been writing and writing and writing, just not as much here. And I miss writing here.

There are things afoot. Crazy dreams being dreamed and actually acted upon, which is something for this family of wild wonderers and deep thinkers. We think a lot, read a ton, talk quite a bit, start all sorts of things. But the day-in day-out keep-at-it-tude (oh I like that)... it is, well, hard.

It's hard to keep slogging through the details, the WORK of making dreams happen. Of giving wings to ideas.

I'll be straight with you. I am not a very self-disciplined person. I'm thinking you've figured that out by my posting schedule here, yes? In fact, I have a serious life-skills issue... I do not know how to gauge time. I have learned to use a timer liberally and am always always shocked when a five minute timer goes off. Five minutes is, oh, two minutes in my world.

Yes, I am always late.

And I am a screech-into-the-last-minute deadline meet-er too. Bleh.

If I might linger in self-analysis for a moment, I'd say that there are two main forces at work with my last minutitis. The first is perfectionism, my never-ending nemesis. I don't finish because there is always "just one more thing" to get right.

The other is that I get interrupted just about constantly (only two major interruptions so far on this post), so I don't even want to start. Which is also called perfectionism.

I was absolutely serious when I wrote about not making excuses. That's not what I am doing here.

What I am fascinated by is the possibility that I might be able to harness these facets of myself... my floating about in time, the effectiveness of timers and deadlines, the reality that perfectionism hinders my starting and my stopping... and make something actually come of them.

I started this blog because I knew I had to write. Had to write, like I had to breathe. Not because I have anything wonderful or new to say, but because that was what I was made to do.

I make elaborate meals because it's part of who I am to play with food and want to give people I love something beautiful and delicious... I don't question whether I am being arrogant in doing that.

But writing? How many times have I not broken the white page because of whispers... "Who are you to write? What makes you think you are special? Who really cares what you think anyway?"


Just another pile of excuses. Fear and perfectionism wrapped up in a nasty box.

{and there was interruption number three}

My husband... he makes music. Amazing and beautiful music. It's what he was made to do. I can be very objective about that. I see the beauty and joy his music brings into the world, I see how making it makes him more himself.

In writing words and music, he and I both understand that our inspiration comes from God, that our gifts come from God, but that we have a role that is essential... if we don't act, something that is real and beautiful just won't happen.

In a way it's like love. Our culture is so confused, thinking love is some romantic feeling, when in fact love, LOVE, is a verb... it's a doing, it's a choice, it's a keep-on-doing-even-when-it's-hard.

These creative pursuits, music and writing, they aren't just some vague thing that sort of happens, they are a doing, a choice, a keep-on-doing-even-when-it's-hard.

God is THE creator, but we participate by being little co-creators as we subdue the wild ideas, the whispy guitar riffs, the perfect first lines, and mold them into something alive.

I'm working on subduing myself too. Wanting to take dominion over my tendency to leave cupboard doors open or work on five things at once. Harnessing my magnetic attraction to "just quickly checking my email" and all things chocolate. Oh I have a long way to go.

Maybe someday I'll be molded into something really alive!


P.S. Just to underscore the insanity-that-is-me, I will now share that I spent over an hour moving text around on a photo of a flower. So that I'd have a photo for this post. Good grief. Pray for my family.

photo credit
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