How easily a moment or action can determine the course of a day, or the memory of a day, when we allow it to paint reality with unforgiving bias.
On one such day, I hurried away from the downtown walking mall in Winchester, Virginia, announcing aloud to myself how bad that day had been. In truth the day had been far from awful. A typical Thursday, it had been a long one, but despite the tribulations that had befallen me that day, I had experienced a lot of blessings and just plain lucky moments that had made my workday infinitely easier to accomplish. In that moment, though, as I hurried to where I’d parked my car and away from the people I had been waiting to meet, I could not see any of the good. Instead I saw how the daylight was waning, how the band members I had arranged to meet at 7:00 could not make it there until 7:40, and how the outdoor photos I was about to take of them probably would not turn out at all. In that moment, as my feet pounded against the uneven red sidewalk bricks, as I cursed myself for not having anticipated the onrushing dark, the tone of the day had been decided.
However, twenty minutes later, I retraced that route to the car, this time with my tri-pod in hand — the one I’d purchased 13 years ago when completing my photography minor at college, and the one that wrote a new story for me that day last week. This time, as I walked back to my car over uneven ground, I had a new assertion to declare to the night: It had been an awesome day.
Despite the growing dark, despite the dimness of the downtown walking mall with its canopy of trees lining the avenue, and despite my, by then, flustered countenance, the pictures turned out just about as perfectly as they could have. With three or four nearby streetlamps posing for light strobes, I might have had my own photography studio right there with me to pull out of my pocket during emergencies. It’s moments like that when I think “luck” is a very pessimistic word for a practicing Christian to toss around like so much discarded grass seed.
Yes, Thursday ended on a high note, with the result of that photo shoot managing to amaze me as well as several coworkers who saw them the following day, but it also ended with a head-smacking moment — one that I really did not notice until a minute ago, as I typed those words. It was a moment that I suppose we all need every so often as a reminder that life doesn’t need to be as bad as we make it seem, but it also was a moment that we very rarely ought to require. How many moments pass us by every day, how many moments fail to catch our attention, even though they’re there and we experience them, but which we miss because instead we’re focusing too much attention on everything that doesn’t happen the way we would like it to?
As I returned to my car for the second time that evening, I thought over the rest of the day; really, almost nothing had gone wrong. Everything that needed to fall in to place did. Only that one delay leading up to the photo shoot had threatened to topple over the tower of metaphorical cards that so meticulously had found their way into spots that I, myself, could not have designed.
Over the long weeks since I last posted to my blog, I have had plenty of days that I wrote off as bad. These were my excuses for not writing. I hope in the future to be more discriminating in my reasons for posting or not posting to my blog and that I, as well as each of you, may welcome the good, not merely tolerate the bad.