“The stories that penetrate life’s routines are the stories that connect humans to each other.” Matt Knisely
When I first learned of Matt Knisely’s new book Framing Faith, I was intrigued. Matt’s an award-winning photojournalist of twenty Emmys and the Edward R. Murrow Awards, whose work I admire and whose words inspire, challenging me to reach higher, to work on lighting and framing, to integrate photography into every aspect of my life.
But here’s my confession. I was intimidated. Matt had publicly offered the opportunity to participate in his book launch. I was interested, but hesitated. I’m not a professional photographer or writer. I don’t have fifty- or even ten-thousand followers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or my blog combined. And I have exactly three days of formal photography training.
A few days later I unexpectedly received a message from Matt via Twitter requesting my address so he could send me an advance copy of his book.
Wow. I smiled. Big. And felt ridiculously pleased.
Someone acclaimed and influential knows my name.
Me. A middle-aged, Midwestern, mini-van wheeling, wife and mom of five, a small-time blogger, and wanna-be writer and photographer, who sometimes wonders where this all might one day lead.
Matt’s book arrived the next week. I poured a fresh cup of tea, opened the envelope, and savored the back cover copy. As I flipped through the pages skimming the chapter titles, one in particular caught my eye, He Knows us by Name. I backed up a few paragraphs, and read these words: “In that moment I began to realize a simple truth about humans: a story is the shortest distance between two people, and some of the most beautiful parts of a story are best captured in isolation – in two-dimensional perspective.” I knew why I held this book in my hands and it was all wrapped up in the following vignette.
Back in 2000 during the run-up to the presidential campaign, Matt had been granted a one-on-one interview with republican candidate George W. Bush, who, toward the end of the interview had said words Matt’s heard at least a thousand times, “Nice to meet you, Nice-Lee.” Two and a half years later, at a press conference detailing the United States’ troop deployment into Afghanistan, then President George W. Bush, exiting “…down the outside perimeter of the crowd of reporters…paused, pointed at [Matt] and said, ‘Nice to meet you, Nice-Lee’….”
Seen. Recognized. Called by name. Two and a half years later.
“I was stunned,” Matt recalls.
Me too in my own smaller way. Stunned that someone of Matt’s caliber would take the time to personally call me by name.
“Oh, sweet girl,” I tenderly heard in my soul, “I too call you by name. Every moment of every day. Whispering it with the wind. Shouting it in the thunder. Thrumming it through rain. Singing it in birdsong. Humming it in the gentle whir of wings and in the endless rhythm of the waves.”
Oh, Lord, You do. And how easily I forget, longing to be seen when I already am, to be known, when You already do, to be called by name, when you promised so long ago You always will.
“Yes,” I heard His still, small Voice, “I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
His. Seen. Known. Loved. And called by name.
Today, I have two copies of Matt Knisely’s book, Framing Faith, to give away, one for you and one for a friend.
Just comment below with your name and a friend’s, or tag your friend in a Facebook comment below this post on my page, and I’ll pull ALL FOUR WINNERS from my last three posts on Monday, July 28th, 2014, and announce the winners.
called by name.