Christmas in October

Ron bought me an early Christmas present this afternoon: A fancy new bounce strobe for my trusty Canon EOS Digital Rebel.

I have a bounce strobe for my ancient 35mm Nikon F2, but it lacks the necessary whiz-bang-electronic-techno-magic bits that would allow it to communicate with the Rebel’s internal computer … so every time I tried putting the Nikon’s strobe on the Rebel’s hot shoe, the Rebel would override my carefully selected manual settings and default to a ridiculously slow shutter speed that resulted in nothing but blurry, unusable images.

The way the guy at the camera store explained it to me, the old strobe could give off light, but it lacked the necessary technology to express it to the Rebel in any meaningful way. Meanwhile, the computer inside the Rebel sensed something on the hot shoe, but it couldn’t recognize what it was, so it basically got confused, panicked, and — in a desperate attempt to let in the light — did something that didn’t make any sense at all.

Although we were talking about cameras, not metaphysics, my experience at the camera store illuminated more than just the subjects of my photographs.

First, I found it interesting that while the old strobe’s light may have been bright enough to produce clear images, the light wasn’t usable, because its method of expression was inappropriate, outdated, and inconsistent with the more advanced technology I’ve adopted in recent years. Substitute “love” for “light” and “understanding” for “technology,” and you’ve got a pretty good metaphysical lesson.

Second, I find I have some things in common with my aptly-named Rebel.

The apostle Paul talks in I Thessalonians about praying that our “whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless.”

If I understand Paul correctly, he is saying that when we find ourselves in a confusing or uncomfortable situation, the right response is not to rely on material sense (which is notoriously unreliable) to tell us what’s going on, but to preserve ourselves “blameless” by calming down and relying on God — divine Principle — to adjust the situation, let in the light, and reveal the true picture.

Like my camera, I’ve sometimes found myself in the position of struggling to communicate with someone who was trying to shed a little light on something for me. Unfortunately, I haven’t always heeded Paul’s advice. Sometimes — like my Rebel — I’ve panicked in the midst of perceived darkness, made assumptions based on incomplete information, and reacted in counterproductive ways. Predictably, my reaction only added to the confusion instead of bringing the peace and clarity that come when we remain calm and wait on Principle to show us the light.


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