One of my many interests is that of photography and one of the key principles of photography is to "protect your highlights." Now what does that mean? A highlight is usually the "brightest area of a photograph in which you can see detail." It is what gives the photo contrast and it is the portion of the photo that captures our attention. Recently I listened to photographer/philosopher Sean Tucker describe this theme of "protect your highlights" but he applied the principle to more than just photography; he said this principle also needs to be applied to life.
We are all familiar with "highlights" reals which are usually shown following a sports event. The miraculous catch, the run for a long gain, the exciting touch down; these are the things that excite us and we want to see them again and again. No-one wants to watch a re-run of a fumble, a slip, a fall, or a missed catch. These are things we would like to put out of our mind. But unfortunately, when it comes to life, these "mis-steps" are often the very things we focus on. I don't know why (genetics, conditioning, learning) but our human tendency is to remember and focus on negative and painful experiences. We replay them over and over again in our mind. This is the very reason so many marriages go "south." Couples spend so much time recalling the negatives of their relationship that the "highlights" (moments that should truly be cherished) are missed.
As we begin a new year (as you look back on 2018), where will your focus be? I would recommend for all of us that we "protect our highlights." To do this we must begin by identifying our highlights - no matter what we've been through in 2018, "highlights" are there. Recall them, ponder them, enjoy them; these are the memories that will give us encouragement and strength as we move into a new year. Further, as we move into a new year, know and anticipate that new "highlights" will come. We don't know when, where, or how, but we do know this - when they come we must treasure them. So whether it's photography, sports, relationships, or life, the principle is the same: We should always "protect our highlights."
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.