Reprinted with permission from a Back Page on 5/18/2014.

Moments.  Life is full of them, but sometimes our desire to save them overpowers the moment itself.  On Monday afternoon we arrived in Petra, only to discover a treat was in store.  On Mondays they offer a “Petra By Night” walk. You leave the Visitor Center walk to and through the siq in the dark.  The path is lit by candles in luminaries. It is supposed to be a quiet, contemplative experience.  Well, it was dark.  The lights marking the path set a great tone, but then there are people.  Keeping them all quiet is impossible.  But we managed to separate ourselves from the loud ones and moved into the siq, enjoying every step of the journey.

When we arrived at the Treasury structure, they had laid out maybe 200-300 luminaries in rows in front of that great sandstone carving.  It was moving.  Impressive. Amazing.  But with so many people (I don’t know – hundreds) all they wanted was to capture the moment for posterity – so it was a sea of constant flashes while we were trying to capture the moment (after taking our pictures, of course).

Then it struck me.  We are so interested in capturing a photo that we let the moment slip by.  Just when we need to let a unique opportunity fill the soul, we have to get the perfect shot.

Flash forward a couple of nights. We are on the Dead Sea in Jordan.  After dinner, I wanted to head down to the shore for one last glimpse into Israel.

The sun had set, but I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I looked across the Dead Sea and easily spotted Herodium, the palace built by Herod in the suburbs of Bethlehem.  And across the way – I saw Jerusalem.  How did I know?  Because you could clearly see the three towers built on top of the Mount of Olives, which distinguish it from any other hill in Jerusalem.  It was so clear that as it got darker I could see more and more of the lights of Jerusalem.

It was an amazing moment.  Rare I’m sure.  It was a warm, clear, spring night in Jordan and the views went on forever.  And what did we do?  We got out our cameras and tried to get the best picture we possibly could.  And then it struck me.  We should savor the moment.  It was a rare opportunity that should touch the soul.  The moment was as important as the pictures would ever be.

I need to learn to enjoy the moment, and not just figure out how to capture it.  May God so move in my soul that I enjoy every gift of His grace.  Lord, keep my eyes open to the moments.