These Photographs Aren’t for You

When I was a little girl, we would eat dinner as a family every night at five o’clock. My dad was in the Air Force and when he arrived home, dinner was on the table. And, before eating, we would always say a blessing over the food. Most of the time, my parents said grace, but now and then, the responsibility would fall upon my two older brothers or myself to offer up the prayer and it was always the same:

“Come Lord Jesus, be our guest
Let these, Thy gifts, to us be blessed. Amen.”

Now, we all knew the prayer. We all said the same prayer every night. But that didn’t stop my older brother from giving me flack when I mumbled the prayer, as I did one night. With heads bowed, and in a voice barely above a whisper, I began to say grace: “Come Lord Jesus be our guest…” and that’s when I was stopped.

In the middle of the blessing, my older brother interrupted, as older brothers are apt to do, and said, “You need to speak louder. We can’t even hear what you’re saying.”

My mom, without missing a beat, looked up from her folded hands, and said, “It doesn’t matter if you can’t hear her…she wasn’t talking to YOU.”

Oh snap. Throwing shade over grace. Nice job, Mom.

I think about this story when I think about the photos we take of ourselves today. Actually, I think more about the photos we DON’T take…all those precious images that are missed because of a whole host of reasons:

“I want to lose weight first.”
“I don’t like the way I look in pictures.”
“Oh, just photograph the kids.”
“I’ll get around to it later.”

And the truth is, none of those excuses matter, because these pictures you are taking, these photographs you are printing, they aren’t for YOU: they are for your kids…and their kids…and their kids…and their kids….

Neither your children, nor your grandchildren, nor your great grandchildren will care about your weight or that you got a bad hair cut, or that you aren’t fond of taking pictures. None of that will matter to them.

Instead, they will pick up your photo, years from now, stare into your eyes and see their own reflected back; they will marvel at the similarities and the differences; they will hold history in their hand.

And they will say, “This is my family.”

Just as a mumbled prayer is heard in heaven, the picture you take today will be your voice to future generations.

I can’t think of a better reason to take a photograph.

xoxo

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