I hobbled off the plane after fifteen hours of travel. Four years ago, I saw God in His element; stretching, molding, and wrecking my heart. In the heart of Africa, I saw Him hard at work. Zambia will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am hoping that it will for you, too.
As a photographer, I tagged along with my dad to capture the surgeries and procedures he performed in the operating room—ranging from skin grafts to amputations.
I pushed open the gates of Zimba Mission Hospital on a chilly, July morning. The stench of rotting flesh filled my lungs, which became all too familiar. My curious eyes scanned the room; stoic and static patients lying on beds, flies swarming about their open wounds, and deeply rooted pain in their eyes that moved my soul.
I never expected to feel things so deeply.
While completing the medical rounds, we stopped at one last bed. Dying, he laid there; chest filling with liquid and mucus.
It was in that moment that I first witnessed the pain of death. Accepting their fate, the patients were overwhelmingly calm on the outside. It wasn't until we locked eyes that I saw their pain. For just a minute, the world stood still. Frozen in time.
How painful it must have been for the family waiting outside. The hope that once filled their eyes was shattered on the hard, cement floor. A life cut short. A tear rolled down my face and broke on a stone beneath.
A day my heart will always remember. The day my soul was moved.
Day after day, I shuffled around the operating room with my camera, searching for the best angle; twisting my lens and adjusting my focus as my dad opened wound after wound. The rusted sanitation sinks were filled with tools and AIDS-infected bloodied cloths rotting in the heat-infested room.
What did I get myself into?
Simply known, a photographer always selects what they wish to see. We can eliminate any part of a scene or simply blur the surrounding areas to illuminate the subject. Seeing the bigger picture is not always ideal, but it is crucial.
So, I ask you, with that in mind, what are you missing in the blurred, obscured parts of your life? What have you overlooked? Missing the details in life makes it more difficult to see God's glory in its fullest.
Take your time, slow down, and appreciate the small things in life. God's love, beauty, and presence is found everywhere—even in the darkest places and disfigured, gory wounds. It was here that I developed a greater appreciation in, what some would call, the most revolting, sickening parts of life.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.