It’s been a year since I started taking pictures of the sky and posting them to an album on Facebook. I’ve taken pictures on walks, on runs, at social occasions, at funerals, sports events, and anywhere I’ve found myself. I’ve taken pictures through all four seasons, day and night, in all kinds of weather. Some pictures contain trees, branches, or bits of building, and most have at least a little cloud. And though I may present a minor annoyance to anyone who follows my feed, the whole process has taught me quite a bit along the way.
The first and most important is the benefit of looking up. Whatever is going on in my life, or in the lives of my dear ones, I have found looking up to be an antidote to worry and fear. How can my little problems compare with the expanse of a great big sky and the God who made it?
Additionally, the more I look up, the more I find that everything is always changing. I have seen a sky worth noticing and by the time I grab my phone, the whole scene is gone. Things are constantly in motion; in the sky, and in my life, and that is a very good thing. Winds of change are a mercy. You never know what might float into the picture next.
For this project, I haven’t used any special equipment. Just my eye, my mind, and my iphone. I haven’t been trained in photography. The pictures aren’t awesome quality, but I find beauty in each one of them still. So, even without qualifications, education, or gear, my perspective matters anyway. I have been pre-programmed to find beauty and so have you.
One of the biggest blessings of the year has been when others share their sky photos with me, or simply tell me that they look up and notice the sky more often as a result of my posts. I jokingly told one friend that if everyone brought a sky picture to my funeral, that would be enough legacy for me. Looking up as a spiritual practice has been a big deal for me, and sharing something good with others has been more rewarding than I ever thought it could be.
There’s a simplicity and poetry to looking at the sky, which makes me feel very young and very old at the same time. It’s literally something the whole world has in common, and in a time in which we feel so divided, that’s a comforting thought. Even my devotional this morning was pointing to the sky as a way that God communicates with his people, and I have to believe that timing is not a coincidence, so here it is:
For the choir director. A psalm of David.
The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and the words to all the world.
God speaks in skies. And in them, he makes a place every person can see him, and wonder, and marvel, and remember ourselves as the brothers and sisters we are. Like Fievel said, it helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky.
I wonder, what is the sky saying to you today? Look up and find out.