The Gift of Seeing

This past Thanksgiving holiday we had the pleasure of spending it with one of our son-in-law’s family. Not only was there marvelous company and great food, there was also the added bonus of being by a Southern California beach. We gathered all the sand and surf lovers among us and spent the better part of one day soaking up the sun and letting the waves drown out the noise of the world.

Point Dume is a promontory on the coast of Malibu that has a high outcropping of rocks that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. The rocks are easy to climb and safe enough for the kids to traverse and from one vantage point, we could see the sandy cove on one side and the rocky sea lion colony on the other.  My 9 year old grandson Trevor and I were perched next to each other with our cameras, talking about how we could capture all the amazing sights.

That night, he came back with us to our hotel room so I could help him plan a special photography project he was working on for a brother and two cousins. When we first looked at his photos on my computer, there were several that excited me. Not only because they looked so good, but I knew I had the same angle of view and could expect similar, (hopefully more experienced) results.

Only I didn’t get those pictures.

We were literally sitting knee to knee and I didn’t see what he saw. He told me later that he loved the waterfall effect when the waves ran over the flat rock in the picture above and when the sand was totally covered, so he waited for both of these to happen at the same time and took his shot.

After looking through all of our pictures, I was amazed at the different images we captured. Though we each saw the same formation of rocks, the same colony of sea lions, the same members in our family, what we chose to capture with our cameras was vastly different.  It was especially thought provoking because he was watching me and trying to emulate what I was doing, so we were side by side much of the day.

I wonder what else I’m not seeing that takes up so much of his view.

It was a powerful reminder that we each see things differently and if we’re not careful, we are blinded to any other perspective by focusing only on what we see. Just like there is a difference between hearing and listening, there is more to seeing than just looking.

Trevor made some great photographs that day but this one is my favorite. He gave it to me in a beautiful frame for Christmas and we hung it in a prominent place in our home. I love everything about it! I hope he continues to share with me all the various and wonderful things his eyes behold, and I will pray for the Gift of Seeing.


Trevor shooting the sea lion colony.