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.