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Sitting outside my borrowed balcony, I thought about life, then recorded an odd mix of thoughts — regular schedule programming stuff as well as that which tends to interrupt the norm.

Questions like — “What to buy for upcoming birthdays?” — mixed with — “What to think about my Arthur Andersen gal pals retiring?”  — led to one on the limits of photography:  “Is it possible to capture the way a particular vintage of early light washes over surfaces to soften steel rooftops, while making a far-off tree defining my horizon, turn red and aglow, each limb and leaf separate and distinct?

The camera is poor help in recording glimpses of reality.  Maybe its fully programmable nature is in part to blame.  After all, the images it takes are limited by what it’s programmed to record.  Since the sky shouldn’t be mauve, light-washed with orange, perhaps the camera filters out those glorious shades so that the sky ends up bleached of color. And while the red of the horizon tree is there, its distinctive shaped edges are lost in translation.  By the time the camera and its lens has done its best work, that glorious tree has become a mere smudge of itself.

Looking at image after failed image, I began to wonder whether the camera didn’t do its job just right.  That is, what if the image the camera actually captured, WAS the reality of things?  What if it was my eye or mind that allowed me to see a different reality, inviting me to see something more than that which was really there to record by machine?  Perhaps I looked out on that tree and saw not only its goodness and raw beauty, but as “like calls to like”, could it be that I beheld hints of hidden reality, shimmering beyond my camera’s ability to capture?

Stories of old friends, told around the table Saturday night, made me wonder similar thoughts, regarding the direction of my life.  They all have such grand plans.  And hearing them dream made me wonder whether I was living my quiet life as I should or whether there were other, more important things, I should be devoting myself toward.

One gal pal, recently retired from her high-powered tax career, is helping to plant a new Methodist church in Kentucky.  Another is making plans to travel to Africa, with hopes of helping women and communities by sharing her business expertise.  Another, just returning home, after years of living in South Florida, is looking forward to finding another job.  Not so much for the income, but for connections with the new community she is transplanting into.  She knows not what, only that there will be something with her name on it.

Can I see myself in Africa?  Or helping to plant a church?  Or entering the work force again — especially in days of a shrinking job market?  No.  Not really.

But do I dismiss too quickly?  Is it possible my own distant vision, when it comes to seeing my own abilities and potential, is as faulty as this morning’s camera lens, when focusing on the sky and that red tree?  Do I white out multicolored adventures by concluding they aren’t for me.  Could my regular scheduled programming of life keep me from focusing properly on a fuzzy horizon?

If not Africa or church-planting, then what else might be lying just beyond that horizon whispering my name?