Inspired on August 1, 2009
(Published in a FB note on August 14, 2009)
I wish I'd had my camera to capture the preciousness that was my little family as we enjoyed each other and the beautiful lake stretched before us on our first morning of vacation at Lake Michigan. With the world seemingly still asleep, the wind whispering through our hair, and the sand tickling our toes, it seemed a picture would be perfect to capture everything I was feeling in that moment.
But what is a picture, really? They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but what words are most often provoked? Cute, ahhh, silly, bad (and or ugly), photogenic, and “DELETE THAT ONE” are the first few that come to mind. Rarely does a picture, especially in this new digital age where a picture is captured every 3 seconds until the ideal image reveals itself on screen, actually depict the emotions the moment itself contained.
A picture of the moment described above would have only been able to capture one third of the love, hope, faith and many other much more complicated and beautiful feelings that swelled deep within my soul as I flirted with my husband and bonded with my son. In order to even remotely have had the hope of capturing that many emotions it would have had to have been a candid photo taken by the man standing at the top of the stairs witnessing our moment.
I saw this man out of the corner of my eye and wondered if he was merely seeing the waves crash against the sand, or if he could feel the beauty that our family was experiencing. I wonder if he noticed my pregnant belly as I bent over to pick up the perfect rock to “skip”, or the way my husband made fun of me for me for my lack of athletic ability, or if he knew it was the first time Owen had ever run along the edge of the lake shore letting the waves chase his feet or running through the waves while holding tight onto mom and dad’s hands. I wonder if this man saw our family moment and reflected it on experiences from his own life, or if he looks back on that morning and can hear the laughter of my anonymous family and can feel Christ very active and present the way we can.
Even as I write these memories, oh how I wish I had had a camera, and yet I simultaneously praise God for its absence. If I had had my camera and decided to capture the moment, the moment would have been lost. To have taken a picture, I’d have had to step out of the action and been seeing the interaction of my husband and son through the lens of a camera. The best of the 20 pictures I would have taken would have shown the viewer of the photo merely a beautiful moment between father and son. While I’d love something physical to help me hold onto and recall this memory over and over, I’m glad that I’d left my camera safely in our chalet so I could relish the moment in it’s entirety as it was intended to be when the good Lord created my small family. Carefully weaving us each to bring a different element to this one moment and the many others God saw before I was, or we were, born.
This is not to say that I didn’t take any pictures while on vacation. In fact there are well over 200 photos currently stuck on my digital camera as the USB cable is still vegging out at the lake. 200+ photos, all the while being cautious not to spend my vacation “hiding behind the lens” rather trying to enjoy and remember each moment as it came. 200+ photos, mind you more than half will probably be deleted or vetoed when we finally transfer the images over to our computer. Many of these photo ops only show me with Owen or Brian with Owen even though we were all present. In these instances I tried to enjoy the moment thoroughly before semi-permanently recording it in digital media. Some of the pictures/short videos are merely of Owen, as I felt they were his moments, his memories to be experienced and enjoyed on his own. In these photos I had no worries about being lost behind the lens but felt like I was the sole witness standing on the stairs (or in the shadows or on the sidelines) recording something beautiful for Owen to treasure. It is my hope that years from now when he comes to me telling me the Chalets are his favorite place in the world, but not quite exactly sure as to how to describe why I’ll be able to show him these photos or videos and spark the same emotions deep within that he felt when they were first experienced.
This is the beauty or rather magical hold that pictures have on us. This ability to share even a tiny little slice of what we have experienced with our friends and family, to show off the memories that we have made, but even more than that, is to treasure them years from now when our lives have drastically changed in ways only God knows. To be able to pick up an album and reflect back on our lives and think “I have been blessed”.
I praise God that we were able to have this time where we can step back from the hustle and bustle of life and enjoy the moments and day that God has made with a backdrop as beautiful as any I’ve seen, also created by my Creator. And so, I’ve written the moment, (in around a thousand words) in hopes that one day far far away it will serve as the perfect picture. That I’ll be able to read this and remember most of the thousand emotions that were swirling around that morning just as the waves swirled amidst our feet. In hopes these emotions won’t be forgotten as easily as the sand is washed away.
Psalm 139: 16-18
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, o God they cannot be numbered. I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of the sand! And when I wake up You are still with me.