In May, I spent two weeks with friends just outside Minneapolis. On one day, with my hosts at work, I headed to Downtown Minneapolis for an exploration. The trouble was, it was raining. Constantly. Fortunately, though, the city has these really handy skywalks which connect together the different buildings, constructed to minimise the amount of time people have to go outside during the extreme weather seasons Minneapolis often experiences.
Upon first hearing of these skywalks, I didn’t quite imagine just how many there would actually be. There are LOADS. Connecting together sixty-nine blocks, you could quite easily get from one end of downtown to the other without having to venture outside. Rather helpfully, the floors you have to walk through to get to the skylines are also full of coffee shops, restaurants and shops, one or two of which I quickly acquainted myself with.
For a tourist not keen on getting wet but keen on seeing a bit of the city, the skyway system was a lifesaver. Sure, I didn’t quite have the experience that comes with being outside, but the day was a good one.
I took the above picture from inside one of the skywalks. I had seen many similar photos with raindrops in focus, so here is me following a well-trodden path. Beyond taking the photo, I didn’t think too much on it. When I got home, and as I began editing some of the photos I took whilst away, this snap stood out to me. I didn’t really know why. Perhaps I just liked it (good enough reason, really). But as I looked at it more I did realise something, in respect of both photograpy and life:
Though rain may force us inside, it need not stop us from taking a good photo.
Life sometimes causes us to withdraw. We really want to go outside, but something is stopping us from doing so. It is raining. In staying inside, the temptation is to feel as though we are missing out on the sights. And yet, being inside can offer a different perspective, or give space and opportunity for other things not possible (or at least less likely) if we were outside.
In short, I like to think there is always a good photograph waiting to be taken.
I got a print of the above photo. It now sits on my desk. I was first annoyed when it was raining in Minneapolis, and yet only by it raining could I take this photo. It now serves as a permanent reminder that when it feels like life is raining down and all I can do is stay inside, that is OK. The view will be different and the experience may take some getting used to, but there remains the potential for a good day.
And on that wet day in May walking through countless skywalks, I had a good day.
This thought has been really helpful for me. Having taken voluntary redundancy in April, I have certainly felt the rain and the need to withdraw. I am not too sure what to do next, friends and family are often unavailable, and money needs to be stewarded well. Whilst I have not turned into a hermit, this has inevitably led to me staying inside more.
It has, at times, been frustrating but God is showing me not all the best pictures are taken outside; sometimes they are best taken inside with the rain bashing against the window.
In fact, in writing this post I realise this photo is the only one from my trip on my desk. I like that. The day which threatened to be a wash-out led to this snap being one of a select few that I treasure most from my whole trip. I am beginning to see how something similar can often happen to our own moments, days and seasons, which threaten to be a wash-out.
In the months since I finished work, the one or two photos I have taken so far from the confines of home – from realising again my identity is not based in what I do but who I am as a child of God, to the charm of living life more simply – have been so valuable to capture.
They are photographs I hope will always have a place on my desk.
If the rain is falling on you, causing you to withdraw and stay inside more than you would like to, my hope and prayer for you is that you will find the photo waiting to be taken – a photo which one day may sit on your desk or mantlepiece as a reminder of something special happening.