how to catch time

Today I walk out my door with two cameras slung over my shoulder.  Dust rises and coats my foot as I walk across the dry ground between my office and Habuba’s front porch.  {Remember Habuba?  My beautiful adoptive Grandma here.}   I sit down next to her and she laughs at me.  One camera is not enough? You work too hard for us benia (daughter).

I marvel at the grace by which I am adopted.  The very gift I came to give has been given to me and I am laid low by it every time.

I turn the lens on her and capture one of my most favorite smiles ever.  This woman has treasure in heaven so deep it makes earth’s billionaires seem devastatingly poor.   She laughs and I laugh with her.  Some days I want to take time and capture it.  Make it slow down.  I want some moments to stretch out and not end.  Hours and days are so very precious.  I realize their worth sometimes only with their passing.  My babies are becoming grade schoolers.  How is this possible?

I rise to greet the other mamas who tenderly care for our children.  Snapping pixels as I go, I might not be able slow the river down but I can bottle a few drops here and there right in my lens.  And I can stop and enjoy the moment I am in.  Not lose its value by racing through to the next one.

I come across Danieli.  He came not a few days old to live with us.  Five years ago without so much as a name.  I looked into his baby face and saw greatness.  This one is a Daniel I heard whispered from above.  Now he grins, arms stretch wide around his baby sisters.  A good big brother, he is.  I may not have carried these children in my womb, but they are inextricably woven into my heart.  I see a glimpse of the strong, fierce, loving protector and leader he will one day be.  He holds onto Patience and Peace.  As every good leader does.

Some moments I have to freeze and frame to fully see.  Some days I have to lay on the altar, carefully write them on my heart by chronicling their stories in order to really hear and comprehend.  For me this space is my canvas, my altar and writing on it, my worship.  I bring all of me to Him, here to be poured out, not to be understood but to understand.  That I may capture time in the lens of eternity.

I go in search of my sweet 11-year old photo bug, Anjiyo.  She is amazing.  Gifted, creative, sweet, kind and every ounce of her love.  I hand off the second camera she is rapidly developing an astounding mastery of. And oh yes I am very, very biased.

What moments shall we capture today daughter?  She squeals in excitement.  That we get to search them out and shoot the angles of seasons and time together… Delight envelops her face.  The journeys that are most meaningful are almost always shared ones.

I should have had the mascara on… and known I would be her favorite subject, for a moment or two at least.  She lovingly captures all of my dirt streaked, raw messiness with care.

She catches mangoes and moments in her lens all hanging together.  Time itself wavers, stops as she clicks.  For a split second when I load her images on my computer tonight I am looking at her world through her eyes.  I see what she sees.  And speech is struck right out of me because of the beauty she frames and offers back as a gift that we too might see

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. 

Maybe the pure in heart might even capture a glimmer of the One they see through their lens.  I ponder the possibility.  Because I am quite certain today she did.   She didn’t just catch time, she caught a glimpse of eternity.

"This is Love" by Anjiyo. Look how far Mercy has come. Thank you for your prayers! Later this year my art studio, Talking Walls, will be hosting Anjiyo's very first photo essay, entitled "My Life". Her world through her eyes. And oh that we would all see so clearly His beauty around us, the forever found hidden right in the middle of now.