Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stop & Use Your Senses

Why should smell get all the credit? Yes roses are nice, but lets be honest, when you wake up in the morning and are confronted with the thickest fog you have seen in ages, you take notice, there is no time for act. Go get the camera and make a futile attempt to "capture" the moment, which cannot properly be done even when waiting 4 minutes for a car to stumble down the road for a headlights failing against the fog shot. The eerie weight of a morning fog calms your spirit, and slows your pace.

Later that same day, when you are driving home from work and witness both a sunset (Rebekah tells me Simon said, "Look Mom, the air is pink!") AND an easy spot to pull over, get out and take it in for a moment (iPhone photos capture even less). I guarantee you will be humbled and inspired by what you see...I guarantee worries diminish.

Pre-sunset/post-fog that same day somebody puts on What's the Story Morning Glory, an album that you love but have not heard for a spell or two. And because your desk is far enough from others, you even sing along quietly...doing your best to overdo a snotty British accent. Sounds like this one bring back fond memories: riding in a friends car, the dorm room, certain moments and certain people.

The problem with your senses is that they are acute. They are constantly trying to communicate with you, and if left unprotected they will dull. Or, what is much more likely, you will offer them less credibility.

The second problem with your senses is that they constantly get press for their basic function and rarely get credit for their higher calling. Yes your eyes focus on a sunset, and connect with the part of your brain that makes sense of the image...and this is truly remarkable and interesting. But what is entirely more profound are the after shocks from any data that your senses take in. You see violence and you are repulsed, you see beauty and you are soothed or inspired. What does this tell us about the world we live in? Its purpose? How we should be within it? An enormous amount.

When we are sickened by ugliness it tells me we are built for something different and we inherently reject what was sensed as distorted, unnatural, unintended or even evil. When we are inspired or humbled by beauty it is because our deepest foundation of peace, wholeness and goodness are aroused. This gets Theological real quick, as there are implications here about who God is and what his creation (including us) are to be about. As Romans 1:20 states: God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that no man is without excuse.  

So...its the weekend now...stop and smell the roses, or touch the tree bark, or hear the music, or taste the strawberries, or see the sunset and get in line with what matters. You may not think anything or reach any conclusions as you observe a red reflection on a still lake...but whether you know it or not, each encounter like this should tune your soul toward joy, truth, justice and love...probably because that's the stuff these things, and we are made of...and the purpose these things, and we are made for.


Jenny said...

That fog and sunset were remarkable and I felt blessed to see them both. Wes saw the sunset and said, "it's not blue!"

Thank you for sharing this truth today.

cerebus660 said...

Lovely photos, Chris. What a beautiful sunset!

BTW, how can you sing along to (What's The Story ) Morning Glory quietly?

Tavo said...

You should read sometime Henri Cartier-Bresson's "The Mind's Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers" (as well as his photographs). A quote from the book, "...for we are out to capture the fugitive moment, and all the inter-relationships involved are on the move...".

Shauna said...

Good reminder to stop and take it in. We just got back from Maui and everyone makes a point each night to take in the sunset.

The other evening we had a beautiful sunset here and I had to kind of tell myself it was okay to stop what I was doing and just stare out the window in awe. I'm not in Hawaii anymore, but I need to keep those senses working!!!