I was looking at a picture of a friend. It was a nice picture. He stood surrounded by the white of fresh snow in the grandeur of Utah's always impressive mountains with the clear blue skies touching the surrounding snow capped peaks. The scenery was intensely beautiful in the way that makes you look twice and then look for your camera, which explains the existence of this picture.
I'm a big sucker for those moments of beauty. I count myself blessed to have lived my life in a place where such moments can be experienced. I like to hike, but I don't hike slowly. I like to hike alone at a pace that keeps me ahead of the group so that when I finally do stop to catch my breath I can sit still and be alone. I'm not sure that I ever truly feel part of it all, no matter how still I sit. At most I feel like the prodigal son returning from his wayward journey to what once was his home. I don't step into it assuming to reclaim it, just to perhaps feel what I once felt to some small degree. Those moments are special when the birds sing their bird songs and the bugs flit about living their bug lives and I sit and watch and feel invited to experience something again or for the first time.
But the world is changing. It seems what happens inside of us or around us matters almost nothing if it doesn't fit in 140 characters and isn't read by everyone we've ever met. With enough time on facebook every situation becomes a new status update. Pictures stop being reminders for ourselves but proof for others of the fact that our life is being lived. We have never truly arrived at a place until we've checked in on every app in hopes of, God willing, becoming the mayor.
Enough has been written about all of this. Nothing I am saying is new. Do I really need to say it?
I don't know. My friend stood in the picture wearing big aviator glasses as if buffering himself from the raw magnitude of the world around him. My friend stood staring into his iPhone, framing a shot of his own, experiencing the infinity of world around him through the 9 very manageable centimeters of his screen. This is how we see the boundless real world: condensed to a specific number of pixels to be pasted around the virtual world.
I am no different. I am doing the same thing. If this is the new way to look at things than I am seeing what you are seeing and I guess it doesn't have to be a bad thing.
But maybe tomorrow we can take off the glasses.