camera lens looking at mountain range

Seeing. . .REALLY Seeing

Something happened in me when I became interested in taking better pictures of our trips and vacations. For years I was content to simply capture the general vision of where we went, what we did, who was involved, and what we enjoyed. The collection of photo albums upstairs and the digital pictures stored on the computer tell the story, get the facts straight, and most would not notice much more about them.

But I remember one particular vacation where I had been awed by the beauty I saw, but I realized that I didn’t capture the powerful beauty I had experienced. So I upgraded my gear and I started paying more attention to what really skilled photographers captured. It was as if I had received new glasses. It was as if I was seeing. . .REALLY seeing for the first time. And because I had seen, I began to LOOK for things, appreciate things, and want to be able to capture these images to save them for others and for my own enjoyment.

Now, when I point out something to a person looking at those images, I remember when someone ELSE pointed something out to me. I realize the joy of how it felt to see and I hunger to help someone else to “see” what they have not yet seen. The viewfinder narrows the focus; the aperture change brings contrast and relief between the different distances that meet my eye; the angle of light transforms a decent picture into a fabulous one.

So here’s my question: do we see people with that kind of attention to detail? I often find myself miffed about something or someone because I can’t see the background and foreground experience that they have had. I get “zoomed in” on a moment, an action, a careless statement and it amps my attitude. But let just one sentence from a bystander add the foreground detail that I’m looking past and I become embarrassed about my attitude. I wonder, is that why Jesus loved people who were invisible or insignificant to others? Is that why Jesus saw sin that others whitewashed? is that why Jesus’ agony was so severe or is His joy so exuberant?

I find this new experiment in operation: I’m trying to reassess my conversations and ask, “Do I really know what’s going on with that person?” It’s amazing what results I’m seeing. Most of them end with me realizing that I don’t know nearly as much as I thought and that GRACE is always the better initial response.


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