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Fully Known. Fully Seen. Fully Loved. Blurry Faces?


I was asked to take pictures at vacation bible school this year.


One of the vacation bible school traditions at the church we attend is the Friday Frame craft. The kids might decorate their picture frame with paint, foam cutouts, bible verses, a VBS theme printed on an address label, glitter, or maybe feathers. The decorations change but always a frame…always on Friday.

And inside the frame?


Always a photograph of them at vacation bible school.


Friday Frame craft. It’s almost an idol but that’s a different topic for a different day.


Anyway.

I was asked to take the photographs of the kids on Wednesday.


It’s a whole process.


You have to ask the craft commanders how they want the kids posed:

Orientation: landscape or vertical?

Background: Light? Dark? Thematic?

Position of the subject in the viewfinder: Off-center? Whole body? Just the face? Hanging upside down? Leaning at a 45-degree angle?


The craft team has definite opinions. It’s not a salvation issue but….


I got all the questions answered. Check.

Landscape. Off Center. Upper Body. Dark Background.


Tape up the solid dark blue background.

Tape a big X on the floor for the kids to stand on.

Tape a big X on the floor for ME to stand on.

X marks the spot.

Now to take the pictures.


Picture taking is done during their Recreation Game Time.

Kids looooove to miss game time.

I think I’m being set up for failure at this point.


So…I pull groups of kids during Recreation Game time.

They stand on their X.

I stand on my X.

Get the kids in my viewfinder.

Take the picture.

Check the picture.

Next.


There are a lot of kids to get through.

They want to get back to the game.

So I rush a bit to get through the groups of kids.

I upload them to some magic file in the internet clouds when I'm done.

It is someone else’s job to get them printed.

I don’t have clearance for that.


On the last day of vacation bible school, the craft day of all craft days is upon us: Friday Frame Day.

As the craft commanders open the envelopes that hold the photographs of the children

who have attended vacation bible school

and eaten dozens of cookies

and heard bible lessons

and sang songs at a volume that will cause long-term permanent hearing loss,


they discovered some of the photographs were blurry.


But I did all that planning and preparation!


Sigh.

I think…


Was I wearing my readers? Yes.

Did something happen in the moving of the digital files?

You know…technology.


Nope.

I checked the photo gallery on my phone and…they were blurry on my camera roll.

Complete user error.


What happened?

I was so focused on the process and in such a rush to take the next kid’s photograph that I didn’t focus on the kid right in front of me.


I needed to be with my feet at the place where God had me at that moment. To see that beautiful little face, that image bearer of God that I had in my viewfinder right then, and not be distracted by taking a picture of the next kid.


Be with my feet standing on that big taped X.


X marks the spot.


I tend to always be thinking of the next thing.

Next thing on my To Do list.

Next place I need to go.

Next item I need to put in my grocery cart.

Anyone else?


I tend to always think of the next thing, and I miss what is right in front of me. Nine times out of ten, what is right in front of me are people.


2 Corinthians 1:3 & 4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.


The thought of Jesus comforting me in my affliction, some versions use the words trials or troubles, allows me to take a big exhale. I imagine him standing in front of me with my face cupped in his hands. I am the sole focus of his attention. I am the sole focus of his gaze.

Fully known. Fully seen. Fully loved.


Not blurry.


And what’s the purpose of this comfort?

The bible tells us in the middle of that set of verses: so that we may be able to comfort others. The sole focus of our attention. The sole focus of our gaze.

Fully known. Fully seen. Fully loved.


Not blurry.


As a mom with a son on the autism spectrum, I know what it’s like to feel like I’m unknown, unseen, unloved.

I’ve witnessed people look past Thomas as if he weren’t there. He’s a blurry shadow in their vision. It crushes me to watch. I wonder how it feels to him.

Not be fully known.

Not be fully seen.

To be left out.

But I’ve felt the comfort and compassion that Jesus provides. Sometimes it’s a spiritual comfort directly from Him. Sometimes it’s physical or emotional comfort and compassion that God sends me through the people in my path.


And what’s the purpose of this comfort?

So that I may be able to comfort others. The sole focus of my attention. The sole focus of my gaze.

Fully known. Fully seen. Fully loved.


Not blurry.


If I miss the people, I’ve missed the point.


Shine Bright💡


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