Clarity


Clarity.  Or, as Webster defines it, ‘The quality of being coherent and intelligible’ as in clarity of thought and communication; i.e. speaking clearly and thinking clearly.   Or, it could be used to describe how easy it is to see through something, ‘The quality of transparency or purity’.

In photography, many of us use a tool called Lightroom to touch-up our photos before releasing the final copy.  One of the toolbars commonly misused by newcomers is the Clarity Bar.  As you adjust it back, it makes the picture more hazy, or foggy.  As you adjust it ahead, the picture becomes more ‘clear’, or sharper, by causing some objects to look unnatural if moved ahead too much.

Many young photographers, including myself, fall into the trap of adjusting the clarity to far ahead and ruin their photos by making them look fake, or ‘overly enhanced’.   It’s an easy habit to fall into thinking you’re making that bland photo look ‘cool’ or something you think you see with your eyes, but in reality, it’s not.

Certainly, in life, clarity is a two-edged sword.  On one hand, we all wish we could see more clearly our future or how to handle a specific situation.  On the other hand, too much clarity can cause pain; such as knowing something someone close to us may have said behind our backs or learning through a DNA service that we have a sister or brother we never knew about from infidelity in the family. 

To say ignorance is bliss, may be an overstatement.  Yet, turning off the TV, shutting down the phone, and leaving everything behind to simply sit by the water as in the photo today (which, by the way, has too much clarity adjustment), may be just what we need. 

We’re so saturated with information that we lose sight of what’s right in front of us.  Many people are so blinded by their anger, hate, and ideology that they fail to see the truth right in front of them.  Stepping outside of the static we live in may be the best thing for us.

For me, nothing helps me more than a good night’s sleep.  It seems to be the time when my mind is able to take all that I’m wrestling with in life and put the pieces together through dreams.  I’ll often wake up and have a much clearer sense of what I must do, where I need to go, or what the answer to a problem is that I couldn’t figure out at work. 

Seeking clarity may be too eye-opening for some and, for some, it may be just what they need.  This weekend, if you’re on the side of needing more clarity in your life, I want to encourage you to ‘step outside’ of your daily life.  Focus on something totally outside of the box.  Perhaps that’s going for a walk, going to the lake, visiting with a friend, or just sitting in a chair outside with a cup of coffee to talk with God.  However you find clarity, most of the time, even if it seems like a painful thing at first, in the long run, the truth will set you free. 

Love Always

Looking Both Ways


It was one of the very first things my parents taught me as a child and one of the first things they taught me when I was learning to drive a car; always look both ways before going forward.  It seems simple enough and logical.  I mean, why wouldn’t I check to see if there’s a car coming from both sides of me before stepping out in front it?

Unfortunately, many people find that seemingly simple habit a hard one to form.  Whether they’re in too much of a hurry, thought they’d looked both directions but only glanced, or it never even occurred to them that they are sharing the road with other drivers, they just can’t seem to make it a regular practise to look both ways.  The consequences of not doing that one thing while driving, walking, or in life, could be deadly.

In California, one of the bad habits people tend to pick up is failing to stop before turning a corner.  Infamously known as the ‘California’ stop, it’s more of a slow-down, check to see if anyone’s coming and then drive right through the stop sign, than it is a stop.  I must confess, while living there, I was just as guilty as anyone until I moved to Texas and was caught by the hidden camera around the corner. That hefty $75 ticket helped me to get over the California Stops real quick. 

Just like pedestrian crossings and stop signs, in life we also need to stop and look both ways from time to time.  Those decisions to not look both ways when we are young bring with them a heavy price that, when we’re older, we don’t want to pay again.  Still, some people will look both ways in life, but because they are risk takers, they plow ahead anyway often nearly escaping tragedy or bringing it into other’s lives as well.

Whether we’re making a career choice, a relationship choice, choosing where we would like to live, or what kind of toothpaste to use, taking a moment to consider the options is a wise habit to consider.  One never knows what might be crossing our path unexpectedly just before we’re ready to move forward with our plans.

The key to developing a habit of looking both ways in life isn’t just learning the hard way, it’s practicing prudence. Instead of just saying yes (or no) to anything we’re offered, asking ourselves what potential dangers could come from our choice will help us to make good choices. Also, considering the consequences of our decisions on others around us is a good way to get into the habit of looking both directions.  It may be a good decision for me, but it may not be a good decision for the other people in my life.  

Lastly, depending on the weight of the decision, taking a few moments to seek the guidance of an all-knowing, all-loving God certainly will help us avoid getting side-swiped by unexpected or hidden dangers.  Speaking from experience, having God in the front seat of our life will only help us to make the right decisions and with perfect timing.  Besides, He also makes great company while driving through life too…

Love always