Thursday, February 5, 2009

Digital History

I finally went digital, kicking and screaming, about 2 years ago. See, when I was in high school, I was really into black and white photography. To me, there was nothing better than spending an entire day shooting a role of film, entering the dark room that evening, and watching the images of my mind being transformed to print. It was a rush that I still think about from time to time. And when I do, I find myself feeling very nostalgic. I think back to what it was like when I was growing up and all the memories I keep in one of those "LIFE" files. We all have them, don't we? A thought pops into our mind, we smell something that flips a switch and we are transported to a time that seems so distant, but more familiar than much of reality. And it makes me meditate on who I am today and how God has used my history to carve out the man that sits here and writes blogs.

Much like our Creator, history is an entity that doesn't exist in time and space. We harness it through the mystery of the mind and the miracle of memory. And when you think about it, our memory function is really an incredible gift from God. We can restrain it, we can repress it, we can embellish it or we can allow it to run wild. We mold it. Carve it. And we cherish it. But the fact of the matter is that history is what it is. It remains constant despite our manipulation. History is what it is, and one thing that remains constant about history is that it is imperfect.

Open a photo album before the advent of digital photography. Let your mind go back as you look over the images. You'll find that much of what you see is a vast array of imperfection. Great memories and nostalgia that runs deep, but flawed and irregular. Look closely at the pictures. Look at the faces. Someone's eyes are closed. Your little brother has his tongue sticking out. Someone is not looking at the camera, not smiling or is scratching something that should not be caught on film! And hey, isn't the classic "red eye" hilarious sometimes?

But these imperfections are part of the canvass that is our life. Yes, God has created us in His image and likeness, and His image should be perfection, but unfortunately that image is flawed by the sin that is in our lives. Just read through the first few chapters of Genesis. We do our best to perfect life, but what is left is still the imperfect. We can label that memory file "PERFECT LIFE", but in reality it is still just "LIFE". A digital camera can help us eliminate the little flaws in our memories, but it doesn't eliminate the imperfections. And those imperfections create an elaborate, deep and warm canvass of history, and are who we are.

I lost my camera early this week, but found it this morning, and for some reason, I feel like taking a lot of pictures. I hope that you'll do the same this weekend, and don't be so quick to hit the delete button. Don't be so quick to backup only the pictures that are "perfect", because for that matter, what is "perfect"? Take pictures! Make memories! Fill up the memory card! But keep ALL of them and build a rich history; imperfections and all.

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