Monday, May 11, 2015

Learning to zoom out

Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, 
but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers.  
The mind can never break off from the journey.  
~Pat Conroy

I have spent the last two months experiencing the Big.  I have wandered through the expanse of deserts and over mountains, and stood in front of a churning ocean that never ends.  I have been made to feel small, and then smaller, until my smallness became my identity and I was engulfed in the magnificent vastness of God.

My eyes eventually adjusted to the scope of all before me, though I {blessedly} never got used to it.  It never ever got old.  I learned to lean in to the Big Spaces, open my lungs to capture the newness of the air, and forget myself piece by piece.  This, I found, is where the Kingdom is.  The truth of "Christ is all, and is in all," and the heart of who we are as wanderers on this planet we call home.  And for all of the times in my life where I have tasted a fleeting piece of this Truth, nothing could compare to being immersed in it. 

In this life I more often than not get caught up in my own story, using myopic vision to look through a warped lens.  My worries, my frustrations, my opinions, my daily to-do list, take up too much of the view out of my soul's window, and I struggle to keep hold of the right perspective.  But in March and April, as we drove our lovable RV around the country, I found that my photos gradually progressed from the traditional "we-are-here" close ups, to encompass more of the wide open wonder all around us.  As my mom joked, "It was almost as if you were disappearing!"

I began to favor also capturing my children with their backs to me, most of the time sneaking up on them when they weren't looking.  It was almost as if I was, for a brief moment, harnessing the awe and wonder they felt along with their image.  I saw, from behind them, as they saw, witnessing the magnificent relationships they were forming with the spaces around them.  Just as my children naturally marvel at the small things, kneeling down to study a fernling or an ant hill, they learned to draw energy and beauty from the vast.

I want to learn to live in this place.  I do not just want to take a temporary journey, but a perpetual one, reframing my view moment by moment and daily praying to be given God's eyes for this world and His people.  Truly, when we zoom out on our life, our circumstances, the news, and our communities, this way of seeing becomes easier, and our minds and hearts are renewed.  We can't help but embrace instead of judge, love instead of despise, seek to unify instead of divide, and choose faith over fear.

This is Operation Zoom Out.  My personal project, here on my blog and on Instagram.  Maybe you will join me.

What are the moments you have dipped your toe in the Big?  When are the times you have truly felt a part of the vastness of God, the ever-abiding presence of Christ, and a connection with all Creation?  How can you reframe your perspective in your daily life?  I believe we all need a regular dose of the Big in order to shift focus from our own small story.

Go find yours.  Photograph it.  Journal it.  Sketch it.  And see how it changes you.