Monday, August 22, 2016

No Pictures, Please

     Today, we had an adventure. Not the I-just-single-handedly-stopped-a-gun-point-bank-robbery kind, but the let's-get-out-and-enjoy-our-corner-of-the-world kind. It was lovely, exciting, refreshing, delightful.

     But I was unable to take a single picture! I couldn't post anything on Instagram: #eventhougheveryoneelsedid. There were no stop-by-stop updates for me to put on Facebook: that-moment-when-you-wonder-if-social-media-knows-how-awesome-your-life-is. I wasn't the one sending pictures back to mum and dad at home.

     I'm currently phone-less which means picture-less, but you know what? That's ok. Better, even. Because it means my Sunday afternoon was spent driving and talking and swimming in the river - not checking facts on my phone or trying to snap pictures. It means the day was closed with a fast-paced, steep hike to watch the sun set over rolling hills of evergreen trees, their reflections quivering in the winding river and its tributaries, the very glory of God seeming to burst forth in purple, red, and glowing gold - and all I could do was sit and wonder at its brilliance. Singing praises with my brothers and sisters, grasping to put words to the feeling of worship that throbbed my heart so vehemently I felt I may explode before I could voice it - this was all I could do. And it taught me.

 phones can't capture memories 

     Yet I know, ridiculously, if I had a phone, I would try. I would pull it out, and attempt to portray in pixels the breathtaking event of a Master Painter brushing the sky with broad, colorful strokes. I would set it up, adjust the angle, and try to save in a small electronic device the marvelous event of a massive heavenly body slipping beyond the edge of my mortal sight. I would try, and fail, and try again. I would become distracted, seeking that perfect shot. I would decide to put myself in the picture - probably with a friend - and would push a button over and over again to make sure we saved the most flattering pic possible. The sun would slip below the tree line, the colors would fade, the wind would die down, and I would have missed my chance.

Missed my chance to sing.

To worship.

To glory.

Missed my chance to marvel.

To be in awe.

To lift my hands high, stretching them toward heaven and the One who dwells therein.

     I love taking pictures because, as incomparable as they are to actual events, they have the ability to time-capsule moments. To help you recall, to go back, to say, "Oh! remember singing hymns together as the sun set on Angel's Rest? Remember that fellow-hiker who sat a bit away from us on the outcropping and clapped along, asking us to keep singing? Remember what it felt like just as that last sliver of burning rose-gold dissipated on the horizon?"

I want to remember

     But today I was reminded: it's saving the moments, and praising our King for them, that are the principle things. If pictures help - lovely. Take a couple. But if you're lucky enough to lose your phone and have no camera, drink it in. Cling to that colorful swirl of brilliance in the sky, hold tight to the shivering moments as the wind tries to blow you off the cliffs and the sun is no longer there to warm you, treasure the hours spent in praise and conversation with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

For me, God had to say loud and clear, "No pictures, please."

And it was glorious.