I told Anjie, a photographer, that I'd learned how to set my camera to take black and white photos. She nodded and said: "I love black and white. You'll learn a lot, shooting in black and white." But she didn't elaborate. I don't know why I didn't ask her what she meant, but I haven't stopped thinking about her words. I guess you might say I've received them as a challenge.
I always feel a little devil-may-care when I set my camera to take black and white photos. After all, I can take any color photo and turn all (or parts) of it black and white through editing. But I'm not clever enough to do the opposite. If I take a photo in black and white, there's no going back; the photo will remain black and white. And color is so much of a thing; it really is.
Still, over and over, I've taken my camera and set it to black and white. I've studied my colorless photos and held whispery conversations with an imaginary Anjie. What did you mean, Anjie? I ask. What should I be seeing?
And I could call her up in a heartbeat. I could text her, message her on facebook, or e-mail her. Anjie loves me with her whole, huge heart, and I know: Anjie would answer any question I could think to ask her, and right away.
But, at this point, I don't think I want her to tell me what I'm supposed to be learning. I want to figure it out for myself.
I'm not there, yet, but I have a few thoughts, the first of which is that color distracts. Without color, the other elements of a photograph become more important. My second thought is that very little in a black and white photograph is black or white. Most everything is grey.
And, you know, I think life is like black and white photography. Most everything is grey. Very little is black or white. I don't mean to oversimplify, but--do you know?--black is essentially the result of an absence of light, while white is the result of too much light.
To me, grey represents the freedom from extremes. It represents my God-given free will and all the God-given space I have in which to exercise it. It represents the vast area in which I get to wrestle with the Lord and figure Him--and His plan for my life--out for myself.
Friends, I want you to know: I'm in hot pursuit of Him. I'm conversating with Him and chasing Him down in the pages of His very own Book. Still, I have so much to learn. I know I'm seeing through a glass darkly. I know I've touched but the hem of His garment. It's been enough, as it turns out, to make me whole. But there's so much more of Him to grasp!
I love it when, like my friend Anjie, like my Pastor David!, you spark my interest, point me in a direction. I love it when you tell me what you're thinking, what you're learning, how you're living, where you're standing. I'm honored to share the same sorts of things with you.
I love it when you say to me: "This has really worked for me," or, "Check out this book (or these scriptures) when you have a chance."
But please hear me: I will never allow you to bully me. I will never allow you to tell me how I must live my life, how I must vote, or how I must interpret the Word of God. I will never allow you to suggest that I don't know Him or that I'm not going to make it to heaven, same as you. I will never allow you to cram my very own Jesus down my very own throat.
Even if your political and theological viewpoints match mine perfectly, the minute you get up in my face, it's over between us. I'll neither hate you nor stop loving you, but I'll shut you down and out. I won't allow you to speak into my life. Unfriend. Unfollow.
And if what you're seeking is someone to tell you how to live your life, you're in the wrong space. Send me an e-mail (normalgirl at hotmail dot com); I'll be glad to provide you with a whole list of bloggers who would love to get up in your face. They're much more popular than I.
The best I have for you is this: if you choose to seek Him, He won't hide from you.
Oh, and--if you're still here--regarding black and white photography?, I've learned a third thing. It's just and simply this: it's possible to sparkle in the grey, which is not true of the absence or excess of light. Just the grey. See me do it. Just sit back and watch.
|My Very Own, Fred Flintstone Toes|