When You Don't Know What You're Missing
I enjoy taking pictures, but I wouldn’t say I’m a photographer. With the advent of digital cameras, and now smartphones, anyone can take dozens or hundreds of pictures a day. And some of these digital pictures look amazing. I have a smartphone with a lot of memory, and I now have over 25,000 photos and 1,600 videos on my phone right now. Those are probably somewhere in “the cloud”, but it’s amazing that I have that many pictures at the tips of my fingertips.
Photography has changed a great deal over time. I remember growing up and see detectives in movies take pictures and then develop them in a dark room. And then around 40 years ago 35 mm cameras became widely used. I remember after family vacations my parents would take their film to the store to get it developed, and then a few days later you could go back to pick up your pictures. Sometimes those pictures were great, and sometimes they weren’t. And then we’d buy a picture album and fill it with all those pictures. What a reminder of how much some things have changed.
Did you ever see a picture where someone was cut out? Perhaps they were off to the side, or maybe they were taller than everyone, and their head was missing or maybe all you saw was a knee or a shirtsleeve. Sometimes we didn’t get the whole picture, and when you don’t have the whole picture, it’s hard to know what you’re missing.
I think it’s a good reminder that in life we often don’t see the whole picture. We read a story in the news and we think, “if only they had done this or that…” Or perhaps we receive a letter in the mail, or hear someone share a story, and we think we’ve heard it all. We start forming opinions and making judgments on incomplete information. One thing I’ve learned in life is that more often than not, we often don’t see the whole picture. It seems there is always more to the story. And I’m sure you’ve heard his side and her side and you know that the truth is likely somewhere in the middle.
My thought for this month is a reminder that we should be slow to speak, quick to listen, and patient with understanding. Things may not always be as they seem. People aren’t always “out to get you”, and maybe, just maybe, there is more to the story than you may ever know. Just like that photo in your album with half a person…was that my cousin or grandma? What hat was he wearing? We may never get the whole story, and sometimes that’s ok.
“The only people who see the whole picture are the ones who step out of the frame.”
– Salman Rushdie