My jaded lens


Sometimes, when I get the feeling that I am missing something important yet intangible, I remind myself that my perceptions are jaded. Then I seek the broad path of seeing beyond, behind, inside of, below, outside of… differently. Herein lies the rub. How can I provide myself with an unbiased view of something “hard-wired” to be exactly that–biased? How can I change the DNA-fueled impressions I’ve made, been fed, massaged over years of mass media influence, denied, embraced, honed?

For example, how can I decide whether my faith is based on what I was taught, or on what I have come to believe “on my own?” Or how can I decide if my ideas about parenting have come from years of careful observation, natural instincts, intelligence, research and a heart for children, OR if I am wrong about many of the issues I fight (internally and externally) for and against?

Is there such a thing as “being neutral?” Can I be “fair” without also being “unfair? And don’t I consistently remind my children that life is not fair? How about “righteousness?” What does this mean? My way or the highway? The way the local church professes? The way my kids catch any inconsistency I unwittingly demonstrate, and call it out, expecting a resolution?

The lens with which I view my world is not rose-colored, it is cracked, dirty, and grimy. It is clear, reflective and beautiful. It is polarized and jaded. It is all I have. Pressing my eye to the viewfinder, I seek the perfect shot through a perfect lens. Click. I’ve got it! I pull the image up on a large screen to analyze the capture. The background is nicely blurred, the foreground is complementary and leads my eye directly to the subject. That’s when I see it–the perfect combination that suddenly has me taking great deep breaths. I study the shapes, the contours, the colors, the shadows and the light. The simple beauty of the virtual shot I have taken is stunning, but will only be fully appreciated by me. As I begin to flip through my life-album of best images, I realize that my most enlightened, powerful days are compositions made up of confidence, hard-knocks humility and the softest, most beautiful light I can imagine–that of gratitude.

photograph property of The Jaded Lens Photography

4 thoughts on “My jaded lens

  1. I think that most of our lives we can only see with our eyes, from our perspective. But there are those moments that transcend normalcy. When we listen with our hearts to someone we love and we are able to see with their eyes. Or when we are so focused on another being, in a healthy way, that we see with God’s eyes. These moments are fleeting but glorious.

    Loved your description. Especially the metaphor of the lens and a photograph. Beautiful.

  2. Isn’t it ironic — the very word you use to characterize that very sharp lens of yours, has roots in both the inanimate and animate? How, I wonder, does the word for a beautiful, valuable mineral also become the word for a horse of a very different color? No glibness intended here — just the wonder of perception.

    jade 1 |jād|
    noun
    a hard, typically green stone used for ornaments and implements and consisting of the minerals jadeite or nephrite;
    jade 2
    noun (archaic)
    1 a bad-tempered or disreputable woman.
    2 an inferior or worn-out horse

  3. So descriptive.

    I think that our ideas and world views are informed by teachings from our childhood, our own life experiences, and an ongoing evolution of self. Does it matter if we are able to point to any rule and state, with certainty, where we learned it? Perhaps. More importantly, to recognize that we can be consistent in our inconsistencies. When our kids catch us, they learn that inner growth doesn’t stop at a certain age. Rather, we continue to learn from our mistakes.

    Beautifully written.

  4. To continue with your same metaphor; yes the lens on the front of the camera may be scratched and dirty and cloud the image but what composed the image in the first place was the feeling that came from the heart of the artist. So put trust in yourself as the photographer does with the camera and follow your heart. That is where true vision exists. The mind is what muddles things and tries to correct for the perceived flaws. Yet the mind itself is flawed because it is just a repository of chaotic and contradictory data that the mind is trying to glean meaning from. Even so, don’t discount all that noise but use it lightly to flavor the image. Much like a photograph uses grain to add character and uniqueness to the art, that grain still doesn’t detract from the composition or its message.

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