Two weekends ago, we headed down to the lake for our first taste of summertime. The water was still low, but wasn’t as cold as it should be for early May. Lucas has been begging to jump in the lake since we closed out the season last summer!
So, we let him jump.
I went down to document Lucas and his cousins and their first splash of the summer. With the water lower than summer pool, the docks were halfway out of the water and slanted. The rocks along the shoreline, normally buried by the water, were exposed. All these things made me nervous for Lucas and the other kids. I stood at the edge of our dock and watched Lucas scramble down the rocks. My heart leapt out of my chest and I cautioned him to be careful. He ignored me and moved faster down the rocks.
I threw my hands up and yelled for him to stop. As I did, the camera that was wrapped around my wrist flew off and plopped in the water.
I immediately yelled, “I dropped my camera. My camera is in the lake.”
Everyone stared at me blankly. They’d all heard the plop, but assumed it was a fish, a rock, a kid jumping, or anything other than my camera. Hysteria momentarily took over, but I finally calmed down enough to realize that it was gone for good.
Since the lake was still fairly low and I had dropped it right by the shore, Mike somehow managed to retrieve it. I was grateful, but my hopes weren’t too high that it could be saved.
We let it dry through the weekend, but it was ruined.
Disappointment only begins to describe my feelings, but I realized it wasn’t the end of the world. It was a decent camera, yes. It was a lot of money (for us), yes. But it can be replaced (eventually).
These days, I’m having a hard time grasping the difference between coincidence and God’s will. This particular incident is no exception. Am I just that big of a klutz, especially with cameras? Was it merely an accident? Or was it a sign from God?
Because in the days since I dropped my camera, I’ve come across several signs telling me this was a message from God.
Take for example, this article on How to Miss a Childhood. It has challenged me to be more present with my family, especially my kids. While it talked more about unplugging from technology, especially phones, I also related it to my addiction to my camera. I spend so much time taking pictures that I often miss the real moment. I’m getting a posed snapshot of a moment I never truly lived.
Or what about the other night as I listened to the The Catholic Guy? Lino and Father Rob ranted about how society today is SO wrapped up in snapping pictures that we miss real life. They encouraged listeners to put their cameras down and enjoy the moment! They begged us to stop worrying about capturing the moment and LIVE it!
I’m not saying God would intentionally cause damage beyond repair to my 2 year old, $300 camera. But perhaps I needed to learn an important lesson.
He knew that I had a true addiction to my camera. The only way to break the addiction was to break the camera. He knew I wouldn’t be able to set limits for myself. And as long as my kids were doing something adorable, He knew I’d end up behind the camera again. And just so we’re clear, my kids are usually doing something adorable.
He also knew I’d be upset and disappointed about my camera, so he made sure that article made it across my newsfeed. He made sure that my plans changed on a random evening so that I’d find myself listening to that episode of The Catholic Guy.
I’ve been without my camera for nearly two weeks. I’ve missed so many photo opportunities. It’s truly been like breaking an addiction.
But you know what? I’ve also enjoyed some pretty amazing moments. I’ve taken mental snapshots and tucked them within my heart. I’ve been an active participant in life rather than a passive spectator behind the camera.
Perhaps it was just a coincidence that I dropped my camera in the lake. After all, I have a poor track record when it comes to cameras. Whether God had a gentle hand in this or not, it was a lesson worth learning.
I know myself and I know that I’ll eventually own another camera. My sister has offered to loan me her old camera for the time being, too. But this whole experience has taught me that the best moments are the ones we savor without distraction. Sure, a picture would be a great treasure. But, sometimes the moment is ruined when it’s captured.
Are you as guilty as I am of snapping away your life? I challenge you to leave your camera at home just this once. Capture the memory in your heart. Enjoy the moment. Live.
Life happens when we stop clicking and start living.
Some of my last photos:
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