Friday, August 05, 2016

Picture Perfect

I am re-calibrating to life back home. In reality, I have no choice, jumping back into school immediately through in-service. My administrators are kind and let me pick my spots; once you've done it numerous times, it's almost like watching re-runs of your favorite show. Love the devotionals in the morning and meeting the new folks. Love the expectations of a chance to change lives. Education veterans will tell you there is the necessary tedium as well. Procedures have to be covered and tweaks discussed, especially for the new folks. But life in which your time has shifted by twelve hours twice in four weeks can be a challenge. Twice in my thirty-six hours back on American soil, I have woken with a start, bewildered as I had no clue where I was. That goes away within a few days. By the this time next week, my sleep cycles and digestive system should be back to normal. Then school starts.

As I look back over my four weeks in Vietnam, I see patterns start to emerge of what transpired. It's kind of like a basketball game- it's not always easy to grasp
what is happening in real time. When I was a high school basketball coach, my view of how we played a particular night could shift, sometimes dramatically, after watching the tape. There's a sense that is true on missions as well. I took close to three thousand pictures, I think, and have deleted down to roughly one hundred on my memory card. They are all in my laptop, stored, so I only kept ones I wanted to print. But here's what I found as I considered the digital record of my trip. None of my five favorite pictures was taken by me and none was taken on my camera. In fact, I am almost positive all were taken on phones. I've become a much better photographer in my three years with my Canon camera, especially in the editing and retrieving department. But I usually just take massive amounts of pictures with the shotgun philosophy- one of them is bound to be decent and I will delete the rest. Not much art to my method.

The picture above was made two weeks ago. Khanh took it on Hai's  phone while Hai baptized Anh. It is the best baptismal shot I have ever seen. It is one of the best photographs of anything I have ever seen. The lighting is perfect. The timing is perfect. The framing and spacing are perfect. It is how I picture the scene when John baptized Jesus, substituting the Jordan River for the Mekong. Do you know what's interesting? I took the same shot on my camera, standing only feet away from Khanh. My picture was terrible while his, on a borrowed cell phone, was superb. I think the difference was this; Khanh tried to take a great picture and I just clicked away. I fell into the trap that more is better. It's how we live life. More money, more friends, more prestige, more you fill in the blank. It's amazing how some of the greatest miracles of Jesus occurred when he was in a crowd. A paralyzed man walked, a woman ceased bleeding after a dozen years, and a little dead girl was given back to her mom and dad, with the breath of life restored. He maintained focus on one while surrounded by the masses. I struggle to maintain focus even by myself. Teaching requires the duality of awareness of the group while not losing sight of the solitary child. Jesus was the master of that concept. A classroom is a bunch of individual portraits sandwiched into a collective canvas with each face begging for attention. It won't be long now. My latest photo shoot starts in only one week. I need to get my lens ready.

Applicable quote of the day:

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
Karl Lagerfeld

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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