Photographers, who create art through their photography, spend a great deal of time evaluating the scene they are about to shoot. How much to include or exclude, what piece of the scene is important, and how much clarity of the background do they want in the picture. They create nuance or aesthetic feeling by the type of light they use, how much of it, and whether or not it is a prominent piece in their final picture.
Most of our lives, we are surrounded by thoughts and words. Without thought, they enter and leave our lives throughout our day. We don’t have the advantage a photographer has in searching for the right scene to photograph. Our thoughts and words weave in and out of our lives, most times, without invitation. A new email, Facebook post, or text message propels us instantly into a new direction. Other times we need words and use them thoughtfully when working on a project or learning something new.
Words, on their surface, are all equal. When looking them up in a dictionary you will find that they all are printed with the same type where none are highlighted for importance. They resemble a pile of bricks that lay waiting to be used at a new construction site.
Remember, words are around us constantly through our day. In the words of the song we are listening to. In the rant of a friend that is frustrated by their situation. In the silence within a relationship when we try to fill in the words we believe are missing. In the meeting room we are sitting in at this moment.
The challenge for us is to focus our lens so that we find the things within the myriad of words we are bombarded with that are either important or helpful. To use words carefully to help us create a picture that we would like to complete and live in. To use our lens when focusing to determine the credibility of the words we are attracted to as well as to understand when we should doubt what we either see or hear.
To look for what is missing or biased. Judgmental or emotional. Important yet incomplete. Worthy of exploration or not worthy of your time. Nonsense or possibility. Do we believe or not believe?
Ours is the much harder job than the photographer’s. For there are so many things to consider. We don’t have the physical lens in front of us to remind us that focusing our lens, around the words, thoughts, and ideas that drown our lives with information, measured against what we hope to achieve, is the key to making sense and moving forward in a world that seems so overwhelming at times.