Sometimes I hide behind my camera. If I’m feeling uncertain or awkward or – let’s be honest – grumpy, I just pull out my Nikon and snap away. That way, I can capture the entire event without ever participating in it.
Between scrapbooking and blogging, my hobbies have fed that tendency, and I’ve realized lately that I’m missing out on the living while I’m so focused on the capturing and the documenting and the sharing.
I’m working on putting the camera down these days, and a few times lately I’ve completely forgotten to take my camera along to an event. But my 35mm lens isn’t the only one I look through when I view the world.
Last weekend, I had an unsettling conversation with a friend. I started out complaining about a situation and realized about halfway through our talk that I was wrong.
Oooh, how I hate to be wrong!
But I was. I’d been upset with someone in my life for quite a while because I viewed an experience we shared through my own lens of pain. I looked at what this person had done to a friend of mine and saw only the similarities to what someone else had done to me long ago. What happened long ago was so painful, and without realizing it, I had just transferred the hurt from that relationship right onto another one.
I’d been holding on to this unreasonable anger, disappointment and bitterness for a long time. And I felt good about it, if you want to know the truth. It was righteous anger; I was hurt on another friend’s behalf and wouldn’t stand for her to be treated so badly!
Except . . . I didn’t really know the whole story. (Do we ever?) And I was looking – no, judging – a situation based on what happened to me years before, not what had actually happened in that moment.
It turns out that righteous anger was really just self-righteousness.
I’m working on repairing the relationships that have suffered as a result of me hiding behind that lens. I’m thankful for friends who are full of grace. But it’s still made me wonder: What other lenses am I looking through today? Is my perspective out of focus in any other areas of my life, thanks to a lens of pain or hurt or disappointment from the past?
What about you? Are you hiding behind a lens of pain? Do your past experiences color the way you process situations today? How can we move on and see our experiences and relationships clearly without letting our baggage – or our lenses – cloud our view?
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12)