Live in the Moment

by Mary Johnson, Children's Ministries and Director of ATB&B

There was a great line from an article I read the other day that sums up my recent thinking about how often I pull out my phone to take a video or photo. "Should you be living your life or living it for others to see it?" The technology to capture images is amazing. The ability to share those images on Facebook and Instagram or through emails allows family and friends to see events in real time. Lives have become a shared social event. I remember the days of taking the rolls of film to Walgreens to have the photos developed. I would always get two sets: one to keep and one to send the family and friends who were in them. Grandma was always delighted to receive the current photos (two or three weeks after the event) of her granddaughters. And that set I kept to put in photo albums - still in boxes in the guest room closet. Someday I'll get around to putting them in the 85 albums that will be required to hold them.

So back to the ease and instant gratification of taking the photos now. I remember having the conversation with a friend who was capturing the moment in Times Square on New Years Eve of the ball-drop and the countdown to the New Year. By the time she finished capturing it and put the phone down, she realized she missed it! Missed the counting down herself, missed the hugs and kisses at midnight, the shouts of joy. Missed reveling in the energy and excitement of the crowd and contributing to it herself. Missed it all. But she has a great photo of the big screen and the crystal ball. There is also the story of the grandparents who took their grandchildren to Disneyland. When at the end of the day the grandmother apologized to the grandfather for not having taken enough photos or videos, the grandfather replied, "That's a good thing - it means you just enjoyed being there with the children."

In November and December, there will be numerous opportunities to capture family events. The table, beautifully set for Thanksgiving, the carving of the turkey, the touch football game in the yard, and so much more. And Christmas! Far too many photo ops to count. So the question I pose to you is: in addition to capturing the moment, will you leave time to experience it?

I will leave you with two images and a video.  The photos of the crowd gathered to catch a glimpse of the Pope as he came by is another perfect illustration of my point. I hope I choose to be the woman in the front as I fully participate in all of life's big moments yet to come. I won't need to prove to anybody I was there. I'll know I was because I truly experienced it.

The video is of a group of college girls at a baseball game this summer that went viral. It was actually the subject of great debate among the sports announcers who were broadcasting the game. It really is a funny clip to watch - and also speaks quite succinctly to the point of "capturing the moment and not being in it."