Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Present in the Moment

It's been a while since I truly behaved like a tourist. While I was living in southeast Asia, it didn't take long until I embraced it as my home. A native is one who longer thinks it a novelty to eat the food, use the facilities, feel the weather, talk with the people. While on my trip to Europe with my family, however, we behaved like total tourists. One thing I noticed that tourists do is to live for the photo shot. The place in which one stands and the view that one behold is not really about the being present in the moment. It's about saving the picture digitally, to be shared and looked when you are no longer there.

I've noticed the same thing happening during New Years and National Days - any celebration involving fireworks. The dazzling displays explodes in the night skies, sending shafts of brilliantly coloured light across the black expanse speckled with twinkling stars. The human eye is really the only thing that can really take in that live-action shot in all its splendour. And the human soul is the only thing that can really appreciate its beauty. And what do we do? We spend the entire 30 seconds to 3 minutes of the fireworks display trying to capture the "perfect" shot in our cameras. Failure after failure, blurry shot after blurry shot, we stare not at the fireworks in the sky, but the 2X3 inch screen on which a crappy picture displays, proving over and over how inadequate the technology is compared to our eyes.

No camera can fully grasp the moment - not even close. It cannot reproduce the same light, the same sounds, the smells, the textures, the memories. And yet we devote the entire moment into force feeding the moment into digital memory, to be saved for another time, when we are not there anymore, when we cannot possibly experience that moment any longer.

Tragic, that we are not present in the moment. That we live not for the true moments, but for the fake ones. We live for those moment which are after the fact. We click and move on without truly beholding and we wonder why we don't remember the scene the way the picture depicts it.

Do we do the same thing with God? Are our musings about him but a click shot of trifling things about him and not a true beholding of him? Perhaps I am guilty of this when I engage in theology, or debate matters of doctrine and scripture. If my theology does not become a filling of myself with and an enjoyment of the excellencies of God, and a commitment to deeper worship and closer obedience, then has it done me any good? Have I not stored him away in a small box, having missed the point of being present in the moment?