Thursday, April 8, 2021

Right Place, Right Time, and Humility

When I was a boy playing PeeWee hockey, I had one season, where, for a while, I was consistently in the right place at the right time. I scored a goal in every game for about two months. The best skater in the league was on my team, and I was, somehow, outscoring him. I should note that I only remember one goal that was unassisted. All the others were set up by nice passes from teammates. I was chubby, and when I found my spot in front of the opponents' net, it was hard for the defenders to move me out of it.

I sometimes look back at that time as one of the best times of my life. I’ve often wished that the rest of my life could be similar, that I would consistently be in the right place at the right time, scoring goals of one sort or another. However, one of my frequent ruminations has been that I haven’t been in the right place at the right time very often. I’ve even whined about it in my prayer life.

On Easter Weekend, I was inspired to share on Facebook some of the interesting sunrises and sunsets I’ve photographed. My eye was on a period, 2012 through 2014, when I was interested in the interactions between the sun and manmade structures. (I was shooting with  a Nikon D80, a really good camera that I, eventually, wore out.) I posted several pictures that I regard as some of my best.

Whether you’re shooting events, which I did plenty of, or news, which I also did plenty of, you have to be in the right places at the right times to get good shots. I’m not a world-renowned photographer, and I didn’t earn much taking pictures. Still, I’ve taken a few shots that were good enough to get in newspapers, magazines, and elsewhere.

On the Saturday before Easter, I made plans to hike on some nature trails with a new friend. (I got a nice phone shot of a full rainbow near those trails last year.) While I was driving out there, something hit me right between the eyes. Although I can’t remember a time of my life where I was in the right place at the right time for an extended period the way I was in PeeWees, I have actually been in the right place at the right time many times. I’m not referring only to photography. In other areas of life, I have often been in the right place at the right time. Not all the time, but enough. However, more often than not, I've taken those moments for granted.

I concluded my little project on Easter Sunday. The last picture I posted was of the Jacksonville Beach Pier with the sun coming up on the other side from where I was shooting. The sun was beautiful coming through all that lumber! I don’t remember being blown away by the beauty of that moment. I think I was probably just taking a nice picture.

Looking at the picture all these years later, I realized several things. I didn’t make that sun, didn’t make that ocean, didn’t make that beach, didn’t mill any of the lumber, and didn’t even screw in a single one of the bolts holding it together. I didn’t even create my ability to recognize that it was a beautiful scene. I didn’t create that moment, but, by the grace of God, I had the privilege to be in the right place at the right time that morning. For me, it's a very humbling thought.