Why I take pictures of the sky

I took this picture of the sky 2 years ago and I still remember how giddy I was as I raced up Washington Avenue under this shimmering shelf of clouds. I had a little echo of that joy as I crossed the Grays Ferry Bridge tonight under a slightly less spectacular (in relative terms) evening wonder. As the sun was setting the sky seemed so big on account of the tiny island clouds that stretched innumerably to the horizon, and the sky/sea was so perfectly fading from a rich blue above to a golden orange below. As I huffed over the bridge’s crown I gasped aloud, somehow still surprised, “It’s beautiful every day! Thank you, Lord…thank you… thank you… thank you…” and the Schuylkill shimmered below in countenance.

I joined instagram almost 3 years ago and it has greatly increased my joy. The prospect of sharing my wonder adds a liveliness to each moment of awe. I am inherently generous in my delight. I grew up with a twin bother who, whether he wanted it or not, was privy to every ounce of fascination I encountered or mustered; and suffice it to say there was much fascination. I am accustomed to shared joy to the point where quiet, lonesome joys are disciplines I strive to inhabit–but they are, in my emotional geography, more clearings hacked out of the undergrowth than naturally occurring ecosystems. And so instagram provides a way for me to share and that sharing heightens and multiplies my own joy. I keep looking because others will see what I see–others will gain from my growing attention. Many look to the sky for glory; I don’t presume to be essential. I claim that in sharing my vision, I create a repeating and intensifying pattern of seeing that happens joy upon me in regular bursts of sweetness. I keep seeing greatness in what is dangerously close to mundane. I want more of that joy and I find it in the sharing as much as in the moment of seeing.

I do the same with the joy I find in Jesus. My compulsion to share my experience with Jesus stems from Jesus’ command to make disciples, but it snowballs from there. My experiences with God are intensified, multiplied and repeated in the process of living them, remembering them and sharing them. I strive to communicate the often unnameable essence of love and hope as it has touched me in a way that actually connects with another. (I’m trying to do it right now and it’s hard!) What is it about the joy of life in Christ that I can tell in a relatively intelligibe or relatively beautiful way? The world can crumble as it is wont to do and my hope survives the deterioration. My friends are more whole after we form a group around Jesus and spend time trusting Him and each other. I find a larger place in me for patience. And the sky is still beautiful. Thank you.. thank you.. thank you.

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