When I wonder if we aren’t taking pictures of the wrong things

I went to the tenth anniversary of my church a couple of months ago. There were speakers,and a slide show of everything you would expect to see. Baby dedications, Easter services, Christmas Eve and baptisms all streaming happily onto the front screen as we ate dinner. It was nice to see my smiling face at the first retreat I ever attended. It was good to see the preaching pictured, and the worship songs sung. But I was sad there were no picture of people crashing on our pastors black couches.

When we were new to the city, and Christian had to leave every weekend to coach his speech team. Before babies and a house of our own, I used to get desperately lonely on the weekends. But I had a tiny almost three-legged dog to take care of. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but enough that it was a semi-regular occurrence. Me and my funny little dog would sleep over at my pastor’s house. Because I was lonely and they knew I needed people.

I think I’m the only one to have slept there with my dog, but I am not the only one to have slept on those couches. People who worked late in the city, but lived in the suburbs, would sometimes crash their after a midnight shift. There were at least two different halves of various married couples that slept there for a week or two while still engaged but in between leases. Someone slept there for a month while she house hunted, I think.

But we didn’t have any pictures of those magical black couches in the slide show. Because we take pictures of the big things, the baby dedications, the weddings, the special services. But we don’t take pictures of the little things that pile into the big things. The crashing on couches, the shared meals, the welcoming of a lonely lady just moved to the city and her funny little dog.

I love the pomp and circumstance. I think the big days are important. But I know to not neglect the every day. I love all the pictures my family has of christmas eve, of easter, of dance recitals and prom. But can I tell you that the best-loved I ever felt was when my mom would come home from her night class with a TCBY ice cream sandwich for me? When my dad made popcorn in the giant bowl, when we went to the video store and my dad let us rent A League of Their Own…..again. When my mom would read from a chapter book just out of our reading reach, just me and her.

I don’t want to de-value the important days, but I wonder if we might be taking pictures of the wrong things. When we look through the scrapbook of our lives, I hope those moments are there on the page, not just in our hearts.

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9 thoughts on “When I wonder if we aren’t taking pictures of the wrong things

  1. I recently read a criticism of our tendency to take too many pictures – as if we are performing for the camera (especially now that a camera is on every phone and in every pocket). It caused me to think.

  2. Um crying…again…good tears

    Derek just rented A League of their own for the girls a few weeks ago. Love it. Love you.

  3. I love this. As I raise kids, I’m realizing how my best childhood memories are the tiny, unplanned traditions (or surprises) that you just can’t really orchestrate as a parent. So I totally resonate with this affection for the small moments.

    At the same time, with folks taking pictures of EVERYTHING these days, I get sad looking around while watching street performers and everyone is staring through their phone. Sometimes I’m like… maybe these were sweet moments because they weren’t documented… only lived and only in the memories of those who participated, not everyone you’ve ever met or not met online.

  4. As you know Abby, when each of you girls turned 16 your Mom created a montage of moments from your live and hung it in the hall. One of my favorite pictures from your’s is you standing on the ground your bike under you ready to take on the world, or at least the block, as your Mother thought that the block was a sufficient part of the world for you to tackle at that age. No Birthday, no Christmas , no graduation just an ordinary moment in an ordinary day with you ready at 10 or 12 to take on all comers, which at the time largely consisted of your sisters. Snap away I say snap away.

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