My new lens finally arrived today. If you’re not into photography, you can stop reading here. I got a Sigma Zoom Super Wide Angle AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro Autofocus Lens; the lens through which I’ll see the world and capture years of memories. I decided early on that I would only carry one lens on this trip, so a lot of time and consideration went into choosing this fine piece of glass. I can’t wait to open this baby wide and capture the Himalayas. At 25.5mm (35mm equivalent), I’ll be able to frame breathtaking mountainscapes. Or I can zoom it in to 105mm and discover the details of life. Perhaps, I’ll fling open that aperture to 2.8, to isolate my bright subjects in the middle of dark monsoon day. Or stop it down to f/32 and bring endless landscapes into focus. Stabilized by my Pentax K100D’s in-body stabilization, I’ll be able to freeze the crispness of a dark mountain morning. If you can’t tell, I’m pretty excited about this lens. But in the end, its not about the lens. Its about photographs. The lens will be gone in 50 years, but I’ll still have the prints. Regardless, this lens is gonna be fun.
Every Wednesday night, Joylani and I attend one of our church’s small-groups. Each week there’s a POW (person of the week), who volunteers to share something they’re struggling with. The cool thing about it is that the group only listens and then prays for the person, rather that trying to solve the person’s problems or give advice. It makes it easier to share, and after hearing others, I often find that my problems aren’t unique to me.
Last night, I was the POW and I shared about doubt. I shared that it’s often hard for me to accept some of Christianity’s answers to life’s tough questions. I anticipate this to become even more of a challenge on the road, for although travel always expands my thinking and perspective, it also challenges my beliefs. Travel elicits new questions and demands re-evaluation of old answers. And even though I’m determined to keep an open mind and I know its good to be challenged, I also know I’m going to feel the burden of continually questioning myself. It feels like there’s a tension between having an open-mind and keeping my faith.
To face my doubt and grow spiritually, Joylani and I have a couple hopes. One is to meet and get to know some Christians in different countries, living in totally different contexts. Its difficult for me to see how accepting Christ is going to change a low-caste laborer’s life in India. But perhaps if we go to an Indian church and meet one, my faith will grow. It would be interesting to meet a Christian in Muslim Indonesia or Communist China, if not just see how their beliefs, lives, and faith differ from my own. Secondly, Joylani and I hope that we’ll find some opportunities to volunteer and serve the regions that we visit. Whether its helping a church or volunteering with a non-profit/NGO, we want to serve the less fortunate.
Today was a huge day for us. It was Joylani’s final day of work and I gave my notice. Plus, I finally received the last of my immunizations and my softball team won. And I didn’t even have to use my AK…for you non-rappers out there, it was a good day.