This runs through my brain as I walk in downtown Indianapolis, taking photos of things as I go. Suddenly, I pass an alley and find the shadow of a cross on an otherwise insignificant parking deck. Suddenly, I have a powerful juxtaposition: Jesus in the ordinary.
The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
the LORD has made them both. (Proverbs 20:12)
It’s what this column is all about. And since I have now completed 200 posts, I thought I’d take a look back on my favorite photos from the past year and the lessons I’ve learned from them. I’ll finish with an invitation.
This photo taught me that rewards often come to those that wait. Sitting on my cousin’s lakeside lawn, I noticed crows frequenting one particular branch. I raised my camera (and its dang-heavy zoom lens) and in time, caught this silhouette. Observation requires a slower pace.
Sometimes we need intentional detours. I came across this rare wild orchid because I searched online for a park along my driving route to a corporate gig. It required me to add in time to take a walk. And though the park was a rather drab place, this living gem was waiting for me in the carpet of dead leaves. Observation thrives in a new landscape.
In cities, I have learned to look up. This shot, of an ornate building in San Diego, is a favorite not because I did anything special in the taking of the picture, but because the moment filled me with wonder. Most of my wows come from natural scenes. This delighted me for the design, color and construction that a human put into it. Observation celebrates beauty wherever it is found.
And finally, this is possibly one of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever taken. I sensed, on this hike, that there was a vantage point ahead and I didn’t let the end of the trail stop me from getting there. The glory of the light reflected on the water led me to worship God right there in that lonely spot. Observation knows when to bend the knee.
Walt Whitman was an observational man. Poets usually are. Here’s an excerpt from his poem, Miracles:
To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass—the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.
Do you agree? Are you learning to observe? Are you finding Christ in the ordinary around you?
If so, I’d like to invite you to join me in a video conference call. I’m not sure when – that’ll be decided once I find if there’s interest. But I’d love to be blessed by your stories of hearing ears and seeing eyes. Tell me about the little miracles you have discovered. Let’s become, for one hour, an 8:18 community.
Email me if you’re interested and I’ll notify you once I have a day and time.
In the meantime, let’s keep our ears and eyes open!
Lord, these ordinary wonders around us are indeed miraculous: that such a great and mighty God as you would care to surround us with such beauty and goodness. How gracious you are! Thank you for loving us in such tangible ways.