This year was a big birthday year for my Dad. I won’t tell you his age, but suffice to say he is eligible for some special discounts now. I wanted to do something personal and lasting for his gift this year. I’m a personalizer when it comes to gift giving, it’s a love language I take seriously. I try to avoid well-meaning but ultimately forgotten or unused gifts or gifts just for the sake of gifting. I try my best to deeply know what drives a person, what intrigues them and gives them joy.
For my Dad, that’s baseball.
Our house is decorated with baseball memorabilia, from magnets on the fridge to tin signs and autographed foul balls. Major league to minor league, my Dad loves baseball. Being a season ticket holder, we go to a few games each summer. One evening, at a minor league game, I brought along my camera and waited patiently in the outfield concourse for the sun to set over the diamond. I was hoping for a glow off the bases and a vignette of pinks and purples encapsulating the stadium.
At least that’s how I pictured it.
The truth is, the actual sunset was a bit dull and there was just barely enough golden glow in the clouds to make it reminiscent of a prized work of art. I snapped the photo anyway, showing my Dad the photo on the digital screen. “It doesn’t look anything like that!” he exclaimed. “Your deceiving people!” I knew what he meant. I had altered the settings on my camera to bring out a certain contrast and hues. I knew in my mind that I wasn’t intending to deceive, but instead I was practicing a skill that any photographer must have; the ability to see the potential in something.
Not all photos turn out with saturated colors and, deep blacks and warm vibrant light. Sometimes it takes a bit of imagination and yes, editing software. Knowing what I can do with the settings on my camera and the tools of my editing software, I am equipped to look for what could be. Since then, looking for what could be has become a way of life. As I’ve trained my eye, I can look at any given situation as a potential photograph.
Seeing the potential in things always leads to good. Without imagination and faith, we miss opportunities, successes and unforgettable experiences.
One such moment of probability is in Matthew chapter 13, when Peter was invited by Jesus to walk on water. This was definitely a moment when Peter had to re-think what could be. Normally, this was an impossible scenario. However, when Peter thought of what he had seen in the person he had been discipled by for the last few months -the Jesus who had been healing the sick and turning water into wine- he realized the potential that exist. Stepping out in faith into the potential of what could be, Peter joined Jesus on the now physics defying surface. It was only when he momentarily changed his focus to the potential for disaster that he began to sink.
“Oh ye of little faith.” Jesus says to him compassionately, seeing the potential of who Peter could be and what he was capable of doing if he had just kept his faith. “Why did you doubt?” Doubt is the enemy of potential. Doubting ourselves, doubting our potential and that of our creator. If I had taken the time to doubt, thought on it too much, let it sink in, I would have never ended up with the photo I did. What will you end up with when you set doubt aside see the potential of what could be?