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A Lesson Learned at Night Posted 5.17.2014

Moments.  Life is full of them, but sometimes our desire to save them overpowers the moment itself.  On Monday afternoon we arrived in Petra, only to discover a treat was in store.  On Mondays they offer a “Petra By Night” walk, you leave the Visitor Center walk to and through the siq in the dark.  The path only lit by candles in luminaries. It is suppose to be a quiet, contemplative experience.  Well, it was dark.  The lights marking the path set a great tone, but then there are people.  Keeping them all quiet is impossible.  But we managed to separate ourselves from the loud ones and moved into the siq, enjoying every step of the journey.

 

When we arrived at the Treasury structure, they had laid out maybe 200-300 luminaries in rows in front of that great carving in the sandstone.  It was moving.  It was impressive.  It was amazing.  Lots of things on this trip have fallen into that category.  But with so many people (I don’t know – hundreds) all they wanted was to capture the moment for posterity – so it was a constant flashes while we were trying to capture the moment (after taking our pictures).

Then it struck me.  We are so interested in capturing a photo that we let the moment slip by.  We are more interested in our pictures than letting a unique opportunity fill the soul.

 

Flash forward a couple of nights. We are on the Dead Sea once again, but this time in Jordan.  After dinner, I wanted to head down to the shore to get a glimpse back at Israel one last time. 

 

The sun was down by the time we got there.  But on the way down to the beach I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I looked across the Dead Sea and easily spotted Herodium, the palace built by Herod in the suburbs of Bethlehem.  Then I really couldn’t believe it – across the way I saw Jerusalem.  How did I know?  Because you could clearly see the three towers built on top of the Mount of Olives, which distinguish it from any other hill in Jerusalem.  It was so clear that as it got darker we could see more and more of the lights of Jerusalem.

 

It was an amazing moment.  Rare I’m sure.  It was a warm, clear, spring night in Jordan and the views seemed to go on forever.  And what did we do?  We got out our cameras and tried to get the best picture we possibly could.  And then it struck me.  We needed instead to savor the moment.  What a rare opportunity, don’t let it slip by without touching the soul.  The moment was just as important as the pictures would ever be.

 

I need to learn to enjoy the moment, and not just figure out how to capture it.  May God so move in my soul that I enjoy every gift of His grace.  Lord, keep my eyes open to the moments.


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