This past weekend, I took my boys to Indianapolis for one of the practice/qualifying dates at the Indy 500. It was awesome to hear and feel the sound and power of the cars as they flew by on the track. I also, of course, was taking lots of pictures and my initial plan was to just want to try to see about how to capture a car in perfect focus as it was going by at 200+ mph. After a few of those, I realized that there was something missing in the pictures I was taking. As I previewed them, yes they were in focus and clear, but they looked pretty much like they were parked on the track rather than speeding by. So, I slowed down my shutter speed to see what I would capture and sure enough, it became a much more interesting (at least to me) picture – while the car itself isn’t “clear”, where its going and how fast its going is obvious in the bottom picture.
Psalm 10 has a bit of this feeling for me. If you take just one small piece of the Psalm, you miss the flow and movement of the whole thing. If you just take the first part, it sounds like it is only a lament about where God is in the midst of suffering. If you take just the middle, it sounds like one wishing the worst upon enemies. If you take just the ending, you miss the challenges that have come before that are the foundation for the final closing words.
I am growing in my spiritual life to look not just at the moments and seeking static moments of connection wtih God, but instead taking in the process, the relationship, the movement that takes place over time. It may not feel quite as clear as when I look at how I felt in a specific moment, but it has a greater depth and a greater sense of meaning for me. In this way, I can be like the Psalmist in Psalm 10 – going from one very different place to another to yet another and it is all a part of one story.
I expeirenced this even in my prayer times this week. I have been using a short statement from Richard Rohr’s email earlier in the week about being saved by grace as a phrase to “enter into silence” (Rohr’s words). When I started using that on Monday, it felt like I was trying to be too quick in saying the words as I slowly and meditatively breathed – it didn’t work. It was only when I slowed down the phrase to match my breathing that I was able to enter into a place of quiet where I could speak and listen to God in prayer.
Even as life might be moving fast, slow down and take in the movement of God.