Thomas Mangelsen devoted an entire week to the pursuit of this image. He writes for two pages, describing in detail his preparations for this shot, his failed attempts, his unerring patience and commitment to this solitary task.
I have no doubt that this picture was captured amidst a myriad of activity. Mother nature is prolific; an eternal source of distraction. She assaults your senses. She seduces, entertains, comforts, disturbs. Her labours are evident as far as the eye can see and beyond. Meadows become forests, become deserts, become oceans. Vibrant and magnificent, turbulent yet tranquil. Constantly evolving.
It is undeniably an incredible picture – yet in the enormous scheme of things, that is all it is. I cannot help but wonder how much Thomas must have missed whilst adjusting his tripod, improving his camouflage, awaiting nature’s compliance.
I can liken this to my own quest for the Lord. I commenced my active pursuit of God’s presence about five years ago. I attended Christian courses, I dedicated time to bible study and prayer. I collected an enviable (or not) library of spiritual how tos. I devised disciplined procedures and was immensely impressed with myself. I am not saying that such undertakings are fruitless. I definitely matured as a Christian. However, did I enter into a more intimate relationship with God? I confess not.
I recognize now that I was trying to harness God. Render Him a frozen image to be hoarded like a souvenir to return to in His seeming absence. What tomfoolery to think that His immensity and radiance could be so contained. Like the photographer, my concentration on capturing the ultimate experience, rendered me unaware of the continual possibilities for spiritual encounter. I was consumed by the instant. Akin to memorizing one note of a symphony. How bizarre.
The Wave has forced me to confront the absurdity of my methods. I have been so industrious in my endeavours to secure that elusive, life-altering revelation, made more unlikely by my demands that the instant be dictated by my own timetable, that the pleasure and comfort of His perfect and constant presence has eluded me.
Yes, Jesus makes Himself known in revelation. He can thrust deep inside to seize your soul and set it to music. But He can also be as subtle as dust particles caught in a shaft of evening sunlight. In both, however, He is of equal substance. One moment no less or more than the other.
Jesus is always my companion. So much so I could be suffocated by His presence. And He is not just sitting; waiting for me to stumble so that He may come to my rescue. But He is dancing and singing, whooping and hollering, flinging around rose petals with abandonment. Dressed in the finery and flamboyance of a carnival band leader; sequins and peacock feathers. A gyrating kaleidoscope of colour. A blazing brilliance. He is a maestro, conducting an orchestra of angels. He exudes majesty and never ceases His rejoicing in me. Nevertheless, I’m standing amidst it all, fiddling with my camera, adjusting the zoom, assessing the light.
The Wave has taught me many, many things, but right now the most glorious of them all is that I can stop chasing that indefinable, award winning frame. I can take Jesus’ hand to join the parade and dance and frolic or just step back and observe, content that He is close at hand. He may disappear from my view but I am never out of His sight. And if I am lucky, He may stop and strike a pose to indulge me, once in a while.