Sunday, June 18, 2006

Up The Creek Without A Camera

I spent last weekend camping with nine friends in Shenandoah. It was a nearly perfect time. I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun. We slept under the open sky (and a couple layers of nylon), we hiked for hours on end, we lazed by the campfire, we ate like royalty, and we communed with God, nature, and each other. We saw snakes, bear, deer, waterfalls, "waterfalls," gullies, mountains, valleys, and skies that would make your eyes cry in worship.

My only prayer for the trip was that God would orchestrate it so that I would have one-on-one time to bond with each person on the trip, even the ones that I didn’t know. God answered that prayer and tossed in the best weather we could have hoped for, just to show off.

Honestly, the only thing that would have made the weekend actually perfect is a camera., I didn’t know why, but as I prepared for the trip I actively avoided having a camera. Then, I ended up spending most of the hikes envisioning each scene through the lens of an imaginary and/or whining about not having a camera.

After I got home, God revealed the purpose for my cameralessness: being. For me, this trip was an exercise in just being. Not doing. God had gifted me with incredible beauty at every turn: natural, man-made, human and relational. But all of this was just to be enjoyed, not captured.

I get a little crazy with cameras. My friend, Kurt, is a photo-sniper. He’s also a Marine, so perhaps there’s a correlation. He takes one great picture per vista, catches exactly what he wants, then moves on. One shot, one kill. I, on the other hand, am the reason that God willed digital cameras into existence. I take ten or fifteen pictures per vista, and delete the shots until I narrow it down to two or three I can’t choose between.

So, God knew how distracted I would be with the process of taking pictures. In general, photography is about capturing the present for the future. It’s about capturing an experience, a mood, an emotion, a scene, a person, an expression, a moment. It’s an incredible gift. But it wasn’t for me, for that weekend. I needed to stay present to the present in the present for the sake of the present. It’s not something I do very often.

Mission: accomplished. I just beed. Sure, there was some Godly coercion involved, but it was for my best. I’m no worse for the wear and I came away with an amazing experience. I'll try it again, one day. Actually, I'll try both. Camping and being.


At 7:42 AM, June 22, 2006, Blogger Darbs said...

What a wonderful experience and lesson..."just be." I'm glad that you were able to realize God's plan for you and your camping trip.

Happy to hear that you had a good time!

At 9:57 AM, June 22, 2006, Blogger The Black Sheep said...

Thanks, Darbs.

It was a really good time.


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