"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

The Weird Guy Taking Pictures of Light-Fixtures

Posted in Ambient, Preemptive Love Coalition by matt on Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lights in the Sobat Restaurant in al-Najaf.

At the end of our most recent Remedy Mission in southern Iraq we got to have a celebration dinner with the governor of Najaf. I shamelessly ate more vegetables that night than I usually do in a week, and that’s not even counting all the meat I mopped up.

After I’d eaten my fill, though, things started turning a little…campy. It wasn’t unlike the last day of summer camp when everyone is promising to IM each other every day, and the photos were flying. I am still trying to get photos emailed to people from that night.

But I eventually snuck away and took a few minutes to enjoy the ambience of the restaurant. The restaurant owner was actually giving me the grand tour when I started realizing just how much I’ve changed.

I mean, I was taking photos of light-fixtures and really liking it—in southern Iraq!

Lights in the Sobat Restaurant in al-Najaf.

Before leaving the restaurant the owner forced me (not quite at gunpoint, but almost) to take one of his hand-made light-fixtures home to Cayla. It was incredibly kind of him.

But on the drive back to the hotel I couldn’t stop thinking about how weird I am. How weird my life has become. It’s all a great kind of weird, but it’s still weird nonetheless.

I think a lot now about photographing this or a time-lapse shot of that. I notice light in a way I never did before—especially the way it falls on a face. I wonder about the Kingdom, and how I fit in it now. I wonder about development and Iraqi politics; I wonder about words and whether or not they’re adequately communicating the ideas I have in my head—or worse, whether or not the ideas I have in my head are even worth communicating.

I’m not who I expected to become.

The musings go deeper and far more cliche, but I’ll spare you (for now). The bottom line is that I’m much different from who I was a couple years ago. I’ve watched children die of correctible heart defects, my friend was murdered, and I live in a place full of people who don’t really get me. At all.

But the negative is nothing compared to all the positive: an incredible team of like-minded people, a supportive family, a brother’s upcoming wedding, and God’s continued blessing on our work here in Iraq (just to name a few).

Lights in the Sobat Restaurant in al-Najaf.

So I don’t mind being a little weird. I’m OK not fitting in or being able to relate to most of my old friends, because I sincerely believe I’m right where God wants me to be—even if that is a random restaurant in southern Iraq admiring light-fixtures.

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