Saturday, May 18, 2013

What Hasn't Happened

The last 2 months of production have been a blitz of shooting and travel. Meeting new people, hearing new stories, and shooting great footage. Certainly some great things have been happening, but as I look back on these weeks it's the events that haven't happened which amaze me. This is what hasn't happened:

I haven't been robbed.
I haven't gotten Malaria.
I haven't been too lost.
I haven't had any equipment fail.
I haven't run out of energy.
I haven't missed any flights.
I haven't been lonely.
I haven't run out of money.
I haven't been worried.
I haven't been injured.
I haven't been discouraged.
I haven't lost heart.
I haven't been attacked by bandits.
I haven't gotten on the wrong bus.

I often thank God for what I see Him doing, the actions He makes evident and visible. I have to ask myself the question, Is He present in these absent events, these “ haven't ”events? Do they bare His fingerprint in the same way as the visible actions?

This past week I got to go rock climbing. Not true sport climbing, just low bouldering, since I was going on my own. Beneath the light house of Dakar are sandstone cliffs meeting the crashing of the Atlantic to form some of the most interesting rock formations I've ever seen. Each day for the past week I've been scrambling around on the rocks, cleaning off sand and salt left by the waves to make some simple bouldering routes. On my last day, as I reached the top of one of these routes, about 10 feet up, I flexed my legs to stand up and prepare to climb back down. As I pulled with my arms and pushed with my legs the rock I was holding snapped, sheering off the cliff face. I spun mid-air to try and land on my feet as best I could, but the landing area was uneven rock covered in thin layers of sand and salt leading down another 15 feet to the water and the sharper rocks that the waves had carved. My feet slid out from underneath me, but I was able to scramble and catch myself with only mild scratches to my lefts and hands. I brushed my self off and kept climbing.
It wasn't until later that I realized the precariousness of that situation. It could have been much worse. I could have hit my head and slid into the water or broken a leg been stranded alone with no way to get back to help. But that didn't happen.

At different times in my travels people have give me warnings to help prepare me for the risks and probabilities. Get insurance for When, not if, you have something stolen. Learn the signs of Malaria, so you can diagnose it When you get it. Double check your itineraries and show up early because flights get cancelled all the time. Be ready for, fill in the blank, because that's just life here. I think you get the picture. The list of “haven't happened” may seem a bit far fetched in the US but for those I work with in West Africa they are inevitable realities. But they haven't happened to me, and certainly not because of my awesome vigilance and preparations. These things are as out of my control as a rock breaking away from the cliff in my hands.