the hidden context of the scene


Early morning in Tualatin, Oregon. A pastoral scene, albeit obscured by fog and muted light. It’s late fall; winter lurks just two weeks away on the 21st, although you wouldn’t know it from the trees stripped bare of their leaves and the flocks of geese making their way south high above. Always on the lookout for interesting subjects, I snapped this shot with my IPad2, thus explaining the low quality of the image which otherwise had potential for beauty.

What interests me, however, is not the image depicted in the photo, but the elements which are hidden: ugly signs advertising nearby businesses, industrial buildings, incessant dump truck traffic (with their ubiquitous puffs of exhaust) via the access road on which I stood to take this photo, as well as the heavy traffic on the nearby major thoroughfare. Appearances aside, there is little which is peaceful or soothing about this neighborhood and its environment.

The small slice of farmland stands as a reminder of the agrarian history it represents, but I wonder how long it will resist the encroaching industrialization. Even now, yet another major industrial project is underway across the street. How soon until this scene is no more?

Don’t misunderstand. This is not an indictment of the building industry and business. I am all for both, and indeed employed as such. It is, however, a reminder that carefully edited snapshots do not tell the full story, whether in photography or in life. The sounds, scents, temperature and hidden elements all add layers of context to the scene captured here.

The same is true for our lives concerning the transparency and authenticity which characterizes our relationships with God and other people. These two elements unveil the fuller context of our hearts, minds, and lives. They enable humility and interconnected reliance on each other. What measures do you take to add both to your life?

Scriptures to consider: Psalm 32:5; James 5:16; John 1:9-10; Galatians 6:2


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